All shoulder Topics

What is Labrum Trimming?

Torn labrum trimming is a surgical procedure that is typically performed arthroscopically in order to trim and remove damaged portions of the labrum of the shoulder.

Key statistics about Labrum Trimming

  • The shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the entire human body[1]
  • Approximately 60% of labral tears of the shoulder are due to traumatic injury with shoulder dislocation being the traumatic mechanism of approximately 31% of those injuries[2]

Expert Insights

Understanding Labral Tears - Daniel Cooper, MD

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint formed by three bones: the humerus, the scapula, and the clavicle.

3D rendering of the shoulder with colorized regions highlighting its anatomy

The labrum is a thick piece of cartilage that helps keep the ball of the shoulder joint in the socket, or glenoid of the scapula.

3D rendering of the shoulder showing the labrum and glenoid

Why is Labrum Trimming performed?

Traumatic injury or repetitive movement can cause the labrum to tear or fray. This damage can cause shoulder pain and affect shoulder function.

Labrum trimming is an effective procedure performed to alleviate pain and restore shoulder function due to labral tears.

Who needs Labrum Trimming Repair?

Labral tears can result from traumatic injury, repetitive overhead movement from participation in certain sports, or wear and tear over time as a normal consequence of aging.

Labrum trimming is one surgical technique that may be performed to address labrum damage that cannot be repaired or treated with nonsurgical measures.

How is Labrum Trimming performed?

  • The surgeon will make small incisions around the shoulder joint and the arthroscope will be inserted into one of the incisions.
  • Saline solution is pumped into the joint to expand it and improve visualization.
  • Images from the arthroscope are sent to a video monitor where the surgeon can see inside the joint.
  • The damaged labrum tissue is removed using a shaver blade.
  • Finally, the saline solution is drained, instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed using sutures.

What are the risks of Labrum Trimming?

Potential risks from labrum trimming may include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Recurrent shoulder instability

How long does it take to recover from Labrum Trimming?

  • 24 hours after surgery
    Most patients are able to return home the same day as their procedure. A physical therapy routine will be established by the surgeon and physical therapist, and pain medication may be prescribed. A sling will be provided, but it is important that prescribed exercises are followed in order to prevent the development of any weakness or stiffness.
  • 2 weeks after surgery
    Any non-dissolvable sutures are removed and bruising and swelling begin to subside.
  • 6-8 weeks after surgery
    Most patients are able to discontinue use of the sling and resume most daily activity.
  • 4-6 months after surgery
    Most patients are fully recovered from labrum trimming, though it may take some patients up to 12 months to fully recover.

What are the results of Torn Labrum Trimming?

Torn labrum trimming is a safe and effective procedure performed to alleviate pain and restore shoulder function to patients with labral tears that cannot be repaired.

Coninck, T.D., Ngai, S.S., & Chung, C.B. (2016). Imaging the Glenoid Labrum and Labral Tears. RadioGraphics. 36(6), 1628-1647.
Alexeev, M., Kercher, J.S., Levina, Y., & Xavier, A.D. (2021). Variability of glenoid labral tear patterns: a study of 280 sequential surgical cases. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. 30(12), 2763-2766.
Last edited on October 27th, 2023 5:37 pm