Original article| Volume 11, ISSUE 1, P42-51, February 1995

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Arthroscopic debridement of glenoid labral tears in athletes

  • Robert J. Tomlinson Jr
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert J. Tomlinson, M.D., Arnold Orthopaedic Associates, 1794 E. Joyce Blvd., Suite 3, Fayetteville, AR 72703, U.S.A.
    Southern California Orthopedic Institute, Van Nuys, California, U.S.A.

    Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Inglewood, California, U.S.A.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Ronald E. Glousman
    Southern California Orthopedic Institute, Van Nuys, California, U.S.A.

    Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Inglewood, California, U.S.A.
    Search for articles by this author
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      This is a retrospective study of 46 patients who underwent arthroscopic glenoid labral debridement from June 1988 to June 1990. All patients complained of pain in the involved shoulder and all were active in sports involving overhead use of the shoulder, including 30 baseball players (16 professional, 14 collegiate/high school). The average age was 22 years (range 16 to 45) and the average follow-up was 2.7 years (range 18 to 50 months). At operation, 35 patients had posterior glenoid lesions, 9 had anterior-superior lesions, and 2 had anterior-inferior lesions. The posterior lesions were further divided into those that involved a horizontal flap tear (n = 19), and those that involved fraying (n = 16). Overall, at an average of 31 months follow-up, 54% (25 of 46) of patients had good to excellent results. Professional baseball players had a statistically significant enhanced outcome with 75% (12 of 16) good-excellent compared with the remaining nonprofessional group, with 43% (13 of 30) good-excellent results. Outcome did not correlate with shoulder laxity, labral lesion location, mechanism of injury, or the presence of a rotator cuff lesion. Conclusions: Arthroscopic debridement of glenoid labral lesions does not yield consistent long-term results. Aggressive, supervised physical therapy in highly motivated individuals may be the most important factors in influencing outcome in patients having arthroscopic labral debridement in the absence of overt shoulder instability.


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