Torn Labrum Shoulder Recovery Without Surgery

The labrum is a cup-shape rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. It’s the lip of the socket of the ball and socket joint. It helps to connect the socket part of the scapula with the head of the humerus. It makes the socket deeper, creating space for the bones to move, and coats the surface of the socket area with soft cartilage, enabling the shoulder to move more freely and painlessly.

A shoulder labrum tear can be caused by a direct injury to the shoulder or as the result of prolonged wear and tear.1 While labral tears can occur in big traumas, like a car crash or a serious fall, shoulder instability is a cause often missed. 2 Instability can slowly increase after an old injury or a seemingly less traumatic event.

Imagine that the ball of the humerus is a bowling ball and that the labrum a barrier between the lane and gutter.  When the shoulder is stable, the ball stays on the lane. When the shoulder is unstable, the ball continuously goes towards the gutter and hits the barrier (labrum).

Shoulder joint anatomy highlighting the labrum
Labrum – shoulder joint anatomy

The common surgical intervention for labral tears often involves an invasive procedure to reattach the biceps tendon at another location. Labral repair tends to be followed by a long, painful recovery with extensive physical therapy — often with no improvement in mobility and function. Also, labrum surgery frequently fails to address the subtle instability of the shoulder joint that caused the tear, so the shoulder remains unstable and subsequent injuries may occur. 

There has only been one high-level study that compared surgical labral repair compared against a fake surgery. It did not show any difference in outcome between the labral repair surgery and the fake procedure 3. In another study looking at posterior shoulder instability, surgery edged out physical therapy, but the patients knew what procedure they were getting 4. We don’t have much solid evidence that a shoulder labral repair procedure works.

Woman in telemedicine consult with physician to see if she's a candidate for Regenexx for knee osteoarthritis.

Regenexx procedures are non-surgical treatments that use your body’s own healing agents to treat shoulder labral tears. Our patients benefit from reduced pain and improved function, helping them avoid shoulder surgery.

Am I a candidate?

Regenexx’s percutaneous labralplasty is a nonsurgical procedure that uses precise imaging guidance and your own healing cells to promote natural healing. Regenexx procedures can be a better alternative for people looking to avoid surgery, lengthy recovery, and overuse of prescription pain medication. They use either platelet-rich plasma or bone marrow concentrate (which contains stem cells). 

The nature and severity of your labral tear (classification type) generally determines if the treatment is right for you. An evaluation by a Regenexx physician is the first step.

Find a Regenexx® location near you.

I tell people about it all the time, and they find it so hard to grasp…100% and no scars, no downtime….I am so happy with my results and just wanted to say THANKS once again.”

Pilates lover with an active lifestyle Full patient story

Number 8 [at 3 minutes and 35 seconds] is Matt scoring the winning goal for Penn State lead over Cornell. He had 2 great goals! THANK YOU…he feels great:)”

Mother of a college athlete Full patient story

Note: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx procedures have a success and failure rate. Not all patients will experience the same results.

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Webinar: Alternatives to Shoulder Labrum Surgery

Learn the latest about regenerative medicine, and how Regenexx procedures can treat your shoulder labrum injury.

Register for the webinar

Yes, not everyone experiences pain when their labrum is torn. In 2016, a study performed MRIs on patients without shoulder pain who were 45-60 years old, a staggering 55-72% of these people had labral tears. 5 

Yes. When the tear is in the upper part of the labrum, the area where the biceps tendon attaches to the lap of the socket is also commonly torn. When this happens, it’s called a SLAP tear (Superior Labral Tear from Anterior to Posterior).

Get started to see if you are a Regenexx candidate

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Insurance typically covers evaluations and diagnostic testing (if recommended). Most insurance plans currently do not cover Regenexx Procedures.

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*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.