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Shoulder Superior Labral Tear

I had a shoulder separation back in 2003-4 from martial arts. The resulting pain was never a huge issue because I would always back off from activity when it got irritated.

Lately I've become more active in martial arts and the pain has come back. There are also little things that are an annoyance (for example, I can't carry a heavy bag of groceries in my left arm without it hurting after a while; pull-ups or pushups hurt after a while) but enough to limit my activities.

So I had an MRI done. MRI tech said I have a superior labral tear. Saw an ortho specialist who said it may or may not be a tear, tried a cortisone shot, pain didn't go away.

Then I saw a surgeon. Surgeon did some motion tests, reviewed the MRI and said I definitely have a labral tear. He said surgery is an option depending on how much this bothers me. Not wanting to rush into surgery I am going to get a second opinion from a second surgeon (also, the recovery period for this procedure can be up to 6 months).

Anyone dealt with this problem? Any options beside surgery I should consider?


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I was experiencing a sore right shoulder (my throwing arm) and finally went to see the orthopaedist. He did an MRI and told me that I have a torn labrum. One option he recommended was surgery. The other option was something called a PRP Injection (Google it and do your own research). This is platelet-rich plasma injection into the site of the injury. He said he gets good results (as good as surgery) with this procedure along with PT. They withdraw your blood, centrifuge it, removing the red cells, then re-inject into the shoulder (or other site of the tear). I'm having it done next month. I did some research and found that many professional athletes are choosing this as an alternative to surgery. The downside is that some insurance companies do not cover it (surgery is usually covered). I'll let you know how it goes! Good luck.

  • whoisdavidfisher commented Jan 2nd 2012:

    So I finally got to the orthopaedist last week and had the PRP injection. After reviewing my MRI, he agreed with the first Dr. that I was, in fact, a candidate for the PRP. The procedure, including drawing the blood and the injection, was virtually pain-free (you'll feel a little pinch). Now for the next 3-4 weeks I am supposed to use my arm as little as possible. No raising it over my head, no putting it behind my back. I am not in sling. After the 3-4 week "do not use" period I will go for 4 weeks of 3x a week PT. It has been 6 days and my shoulder feels as it did prior to the procedure. But I am hopeful. I'll post updates as the weeks (and my shoulder) progress.

  • whoisdavidfisher commented Feb 15th 2012:

    I just finished 4 weeks of PT (9 sessions) and I feel great! The PRP injection coupled with the PT (which I will continue at home) seems to have helped quite a bit. Another couple of weeks and I will start throwing. Looking forward to softball season! If your doctor recommends the PRP injection therapy, do it! By the way, it's available right here in the US (I had mine done in NJ) so no need to find a questionable doc in Germany!


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@ whoisdavidfisher: What was the outcome? Did you have another MRI to determine if the labrum healed (or the presence of regrowth)?


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