Stemcelldoc's Weblog

February 28, 2009

Labral Tears in the Shoulder

The labrum is a cartilaginous cup which circles the shallow shoulder socket (the glenoid) to make the socket deeper.  The labrum supports and stabilizes the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Labrum

Shoulder Labrum

Injury to the labrum typically occurs from repetitive trauma in overhead throwers, such as in baseball.  It can also occur from a traction injury to the arm, such as lifting a heavy object off the ground or getting your arm jerked.

Typical symptoms include pain in the front of the shoulder or deep inside the joint.

Treatment options initially  include physical therapy which is designed to restore range of motion and strength to the shoulder.  Often times shoulder arthroscopy is recommended where the damaged labrum is identified and then repaired using suture anchors to sew the labrum back in place.

Surgical Repair of Labrum

Surgical Repair of Labrum

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we have developed x-ray guided techniques to safely inject the labrum.  Once a small needle is appropriately placed, we inject a very small amount of contrast(dye) to confirm accurate placement.  The  x-ray pictures below illustrate the labrum being outlined with contrast. There are two pictures one of which is looking from the side where you can see the thin black line outlining the labrum and an oblique view in which you are looking down into the cup.

Oblique View of Labral Injection

Oblique View of Labral Injection

Lateral View of Labral Injection

Lateral View of Labral Injection

If a tear is present, a patient’s own stem cells can then be injected.  Regenexx allows a patient to have their own expanded mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)  injected directly into the damaged area.  Mesenchymal stem cells will differentiate into the cartilage which makes up the labrum.

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