Return to Play and Outcomes in Baseball Players After Superior Labral Anterior-Posterior Repairs

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Abstract

Background:

Few studies have documented the outcomes of superior labral anterior-posterior (SLAP) repairs in baseball players. Furthermore, the results of these previous studies varied widely and were based on small numbers of patients.

Hypothesis/Purpose:

The purpose was to report return-to-play (RTP) rates and validated subjective outcome scores for baseball players after SLAP repair. It was hypothesized that RTP rates and outcomes would be significantly different between pitchers and nonpitchers, as well as among baseball levels.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods:

A series of 216 baseball players was identified who had isolated SLAP repair or SLAP repair with debridement of partial-thickness (<25%) rotator cuff tear at our surgical centers. Patients were contacted by phone a minimum of 2 years after surgery and asked questions about their ability to RTP. Patients were also asked questions to complete the Western Ontario Shoulder Instability Index (WOSI), Veteran’s RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12), and Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic (KJOC) questionnaires. Statistical equivalence in RTP rate, VR-12, and WOSI scores was determined between players with and without concomitant rotator cuff debridement using 2 one-sided tests and risk difference measures. Differences in RTP were tested among baseball levels (high school, college, professional) and positions (pitcher vs nonpitcher) using chi-square analyses (P < .05). Differences in outcomes scores were compared using t tests and analyses of variance (P < .05).

Results:

Of the 216 baseball players, 133 were reached by phone for follow-up interview (mean, 78 months; range, 27-146 months). Overall, 62% successfully returned to play. There were no differences in RTP rates or subjective outcomes among baseball levels or between procedures. RTP rates were 59% for pitchers and 76% for nonpitchers (P = .060). Subjectively, the percentage of patients who felt the same or better at follow-up compared to preinjury was significantly higher among nonpitchers (66%) than pitchers (43%). There was no difference in KJOC scores between the pitchers (75.3 ± 19.4) and nonpitchers (76.2 ± 17.4) who successfully returned to play, although these scores were well below the minimum desired score of 90 for healthy baseball players.

Conclusion:

SLAP repair should continue to be considered as an option for SLAP tear treatment only after nonsurgical management has failed. Some players may be able to return to baseball after SLAP repair, although regaining preinjury health and performance is challenging.

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