T Nation

Two SLAP Tears - Which to Repair First?


Hello All,

Unfortunately both of my shoulder have been diagnosed with SLAP tears over the years(confirmed with contrast MRI and physical tests), and I will be undergoing surgery to repair the first one on December 9th.

I'm having difficulty determining which to repair first (if I do both), which shoulder to address first to get closer to my prior level of performance, and If I did choose to repair both how far apart to schedule the surgeries.

Ideally, I would like to address the shoulder that gets me back to my normal routine the closest, but would appreciate your feedback.

Right Shoulder:
-Damaged due to physical impact 3 years ago.
-Dominant arm.
-Conservative rehab has allowed me to regain mobility and reduce pain, but open chain exercises, especially dumbell chest press beyond 30lb (used to press 100lbs pain free) causes pain.
-Day-to day I am good.

Left Shoulder:
-Torn last year and has always been a lax joint.
-Conservative rehab has reduced pain, but there is day to day irritation and a subtle rub/grind with some motions.
-No pain generally with pushing/pulling open chain motions.

Thanks in advance, would love to get back into things full swing.


I went through something similar this year. Going into surgery, we thought I had a slap tear and reverse bankart on the right side, and a slap tear and torn rotator cuff on the left. It turned out the right only had the reverse bankart, as the damage along the top is due to early arthritis. The left one was exactly as expected.

I initially tore my left rotator cuff 15 years ago. The right started bothering me a couple years after that. Like you, I had rehabbed to a point where I was functional but finally decided to get them both done this year.

The injuries to my left side were more significant, but the right side was causing me more day-to-day pain and since I am also right handed I did it first at the end of January. I did the left one the end of May. Four months in between was probably a little tight, but in the end it is giving me two healthy shoulders. Depending on how you recover I'd consider that a good time in between to allow the first one to heal but not so close that you have to risk reinjuring it. The first couple weeks after my second surgery were pretty tough as I was not used to using my right arm full time yet, but I survived without incident.

My only question is why are you doing the first one in December? I'd assume you'd want it all in one insurance year so you only have to pay your full deductible in one year and not both.