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WMJ: Increased incidence of shoulder repair surgeries significant

Release Date: December 22, 2014
Contact: Jennifer Wieman - 608.442.3765 jennifer.wieman@wismed.org

MADISON—(December 22, 2014) The incidence of shoulder surgeries performed in Wisconsin is of major concern, as a specific shoulder surgical procedure—superior labrum anterior and posterior (SLAP) repair—increased by 91.4 percent between 2002 and 2010, according to a study published in the December issue of WMJ.

“It is likely that SLAP tears are over-diagnosed and almost certain that too many SLAP repairs are being performed and, potentially in this study, in women,” the authors wrote.
For this study, data for procedure code 81.83, “other shoulder repair,” was pulled from the Wisconsin Hospital Association statewide database from 2002 to 2010. This included SLAP repairs, but excluded other common shoulder repair procedures.

According to the study, 5,642 SLAP repair surgeries were performed in 2002. By 2010, that number had reached 10,812. The incidence of SLAP procedures also rose significantly—83.1 percent—in that same timeframe: 103.8 per 100,000 people in 2002 to 190.1 per 100,000 people in 2010. The ratio of male to female patients undergoing the surgery remained fairly constant at 3:2. The average age of male patients was 36.4, while female patients were 40.9.

The authors noted that SLAP repairs are not benign procedures and carry a risk of complications that include stiffness, rotator cuff tears and articular cartilage damage.
“There is still a need for better, more specific physical tests to confirm symptomatic SLAP pathology and treatment needs to reflect the age and needs of the patient,” the authors wrote.

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. This peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.

All articles published in WMJ represent the views of the authors, for which neither WMJ nor the Wisconsin Medical Society take responsibility, unless clearly stated.