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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 Jun;22(6):e11-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2012.08.023. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Prevalence of labral tears in the elderly.

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Greenville Hospital System/Steadman Hawkins Clinic of Carolinas/Hawkins Research Foundation, Greenville, SC, USA.



The prevalence of SLAP (superior labrum antero-posterior) tears in the general population is not well known. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of SLAP tears in the elderly using a cadaveric population.


One hundred two embalmed cadaveric shoulders were dissected by a single, experienced orthopaedic shoulder surgeon (D.H.L.). The average age of the cadavers was 80.6 years (range, 57-96). There were 40 female and 62 male shoulders. For each shoulder dissection, the labrum, rotator cuff, and glenohumeral articular cartilage were inspected.


SLAP tears were found in 10 out of 102 shoulders (9.8%), 9 (8.8%) of which were classified as type I and 1 (0.98%) as type II. Twenty-one shoulders (20.6%) were found to have an anterior sublabral foramen, which had an average length of 7 mm (range, 3-11). Seven shoulders (6.9%) had a Buford complex.


The prevalence of SLAP tears in the elderly is very low. However, there are a significant number of normal anatomic labral variants (eg, sublabral foramina, Buford complexes), which can resemble SLAP tears. These findings add to our knowledge of the prevalence of SLAP tears and will assist future researchers in determining both why the incidence of SLAP repair is increasing and whether it is justified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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