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Pulled Labrum Anchor?

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I had surgery about 2 weeks ago on my left shoulder to repair a tear in the anterior portion of my labrum. It was only one anchor from what I understand. I was told not to do ANY bicep movements with weight for at least 4 weeks. Well, I wasn't paying attention and "accidentally" used my bicep just doing something around the house. I felt a pretty intense, sharp pain in my shoulder and it was sore for about 10-15 minutes after. I'm nervous because now I am noticing some grinding/popping in my shoulder and not sure whether I have pulled the anchor. The physical therapist thinks I'm probably okay, but I'm not so sure. The grinding/popping doesn't hurt, but it worries me since that is the primary symptom I had before surgery.

Would I be in a lot more pain if I did pull or damage the anchor? Does this warrant going back to my doctor or should I give it some time first? I've already had my post-op and am not scheduled to go back for another 4 weeks.
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic

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replied January 2nd, 2012
Especially eHealthy

As to the crepitus (grinding/popping), has it changed since you lifted the weight? In other words, was the crepitus getting better or gone after the surgery, but since you lifted the weight, it was returned or worsened?

Also, you state that your repair was for the anterior labrum. Did you have a SLAP tear? A SLAP (superior labrum anterior posterior) tear involves the biological anchor of the long head of the biceps on the top of the glenoid. If you had a SLAP tear, then it is really important to not use the biceps, obviously. If your tear was in the anterior labrum around the region of the anterior glenohumeral ligaments (especially the middle and inferior), then it is not quite so important. A tear in that region does not involve the biceps anchor.

So, if the crepitus has increased/changed, that could be a sign of a problem. But, unfortunately, it is very nonspecific. Mainly, because it could also be from tearing some scar tissue inside the joint also.

If the anchor was pulled out of the bone, it would not really be floating around in the joint. The sutures attached to the anchor would still be sewed into the soft tissues of the labrum and capsule.

This is actually one of the hardest things to determine, because you really can't examine the joint adequately yet. You don't want to put a lot of stress on the healing tissues at 14 days out. This is in the time frame when the healing tissues are their weakest. So, you don't want to be stressing the repair to assess the stability.

X-ray can be misleading. An MRI may be necessary, if the surgeon is really concerned.

If you are still having quite a bit of discomfort, an increase in your crepitus, a feeling of something caught in the joint, or if you are just concerned, give your surgeon a call. Explain what you did, in as much detail as possible. The surgeon can then probably determine if he wants you evaluated now, or if it can wait till your next appointment. He/she knows what specific injury you had and what exactly was done in the shoulder. So, he/she is the best person to contact.

Good luck.
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replied January 3rd, 2012
Thanks for the great reply!

I'm not positive whether it was a SLAP or not, but I was told by my surgeon that because it was an anterior repair that I needed to avoid bicep work for at least 4 weeks. The day I lifted the weight was the same day I started physical therapy and by the next day I started noticing the crepitus. I hadn't noticed any crepitus after the surgery or before lifting the weight, but then again I wasn't really moving my shoulder a lot either. I'll probably give it another week or two of physical therapy and see how it does. As you say, if it gets worse I'll contact my surgeon before my next appointment. Thanks again!
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