SLAP – Bankart Shoulder Surgery

I played on several softball leagues last summer and during one all-day tournament I was in, a sharply hit ball came up the middle. I started ranging from my shortstop position and when it was clear I wouldn’t get there in time, I dove. Stretched out horizontal, I thought for sure I was going to make ESPN on this one, but I didn’t… and when I started getting up I knew immediately something was wrong with my shoulder.

10 days ago, I went under the knife to repair a labrum tear (SLAP / Bankart lesions) in my left shoulder. I was scared, I’m not going to lie. Recently, I lost one of my best friend’s Dad due to complications from an elective surgery (RIP – Rob) and it weighed heavy on my mind.

Thankfully, it was successful, lots of love to modern medicine and my surgeon!

But it wasn’t a decision I took lightly.

First, I Tried to Figure Out All My Options

After going insane checking out all the angles, it turns out if the body can’t heal cartilage damage in the labrum in the first 6 months after the injury it is basically impossible for the body to reattach the cartilage. It was either surgery, plus a lengthy rehab, or I would have to cope with early onset arthritis and decreased range of motion (ROM) later in life.

Is Leaky Gut Making You Sicker?


The MRI results showed damage around the bottom of my labrum, called a Bankart lesion and potentially a SLAP lesion. The doctor thought it looked typical of what he sees on a daily basis. But I still pressed him hard on all kinds of questions, to which he told me he does about 300 of these a year and works regularly with college athletes (MSU) and explained why all my crazy alternative methods wouldn’t apply in this situation, I was confident I had the right guy.

The Full Story Isn’t Known Until They Open You Up

Huge thanks to my family and friends for the support and all the questions I laid on them. My sister, who has the most experience in this area (ACL surgery and exercise science degree), nailed it on the head. She told me the doctors can only tell so much from the Arthrogram (MRI) results and it is likely they could find more damage once they got in there.

She was spot on. The surgeon found a chunk of cartilage floating around near the tear. He also found that the tear was worse than he thought, the whole side of my labrum was detached from top to bottom. Lucky for me, all my tendons were in good shape. 5 sutures (think screws), 3 holes in my arm, and 2 hours later I was all put back together. The cool thing is the anchors are bioabsorbable…


Recovery starts with 4 weeks in a sling and very limited range of motion (ROM), rehab for a couple months, and full strength with ROM somewhere between 3 and 6 months. I’ve heard most people end up near 5 months, but obviously my goal is 3. 🙂

My sister gave me another great tip to talk with the surgeon about and find a rehab specialist who was younger, and on the cutting edge of rehab programs. She was adamant that I find someone who would modify the rehab program and push me as I progress, instead of just going by the book. I did just that and I start in a few days.

I didn’t stop there…

My SLAP Surgery Supplement Plan

It’s just my nature and I can’t help it. I have to push the boundaries and see what I can do to help. I consulted with Chris Kresser, Pubmed, and Tim Ferriss’s “4-hour Body.”

Here is the post-surgery supplement plan I’m following:

With the additions above, I will be creating a massive influx of all the nutrients needed to repair collagen, cartilage, ligaments, and bone (K2 from the butter oil). I will also be working hard to keep inflammation low and keep my body focused on my injury… and not fighting saber tooth tigers.

I’ll try to give you an update as I progress through rehab and let you know what I think helped! And I’d love to hear if you have any tips for recovery or share your surgery experiences below.

Talk soon,


Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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19 thoughts on “SLAP – Bankart Shoulder Surgery

  1. Avatar

    Hi all, I just saw that this original article is from two years ago. Nevertheless I posted a question about collagen powder yesterday. I am wondering if it was received. JanetM

    • Jordan Reasoner

      HI Janet, thank you for reaching out! I apologize if we were unable to get to your question a while back. Here is a great article on Bone Broth (collagen) Please let us know if we can help in any other way!

      • Avatar

        Thanks for the responses. I actually started making bone broth a couple weeks before discovering SCD Lifestyle. Or let me be more precise, I mistakenly thought that SCD didn’t apply to me as I only tested positive for wheat, gluten, milk products, eggs and a few other things in January.
        Two weeks ago I did get a heads up after listening to Elaine Gottshall’s lecture on youtube. I realized that must be it! And there are some improvements, though small, over about 10 days.
        I have a strange problem, it’s as though my guts are metabolizing the supplements that I desperately consumed in order to get some relief, like coming through my skin as well. That’s why I asked about the collagen. I might not take it right now as I am afraid to ingest any powder or supplement. The bone broth is GREAT and I have frozen part of the big batch I made, actually in a pressure cooker.
        Milk and wheat sensitivity made a lot of sense since I was disastrously bottlefed as an infant and was a child during the “milk is good for you” campaigns of the 50’s and 60’s. And there were plenty of digestive problems from childhood. In fact, I am amazed that I have survived so long with a steady decrease in overall health and digestive function.
        Oh, and I was hospitalized twice for anemia. Did anyone link up the dots? No!!! There was some suspicion that diet might have something to do with it all and I tried just about every conflicting diet known to man.
        They say madness is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. As I am married to a Japanese, we happen to consume a lot of rice. So what could be wrong with that? I cut out rice now for the first time in my addled history. I got rid of bread six months ago so have been easing into this diet as it were.
        I also feel a kind of shock relief as when you just miss being in a car accident because this could have only gotten from worse to worst. The problem here this adrenal seesaw has been going on for a long time. I feel I have a certain amount of PTSD from all the upheavals and downslides of this condition all these years, mental and emotional exhaustion. The little comforts that I might have fallen back on like sweets and even alcohol, now are not available so I am even more fidgety at times.
        Presumably with better health I won’t miss them. Thanks for listening… Janet

  2. Avatar

    Hi Steve,
    I am really learning a lot from this site and wish you a speedy recovery. I just started the SCD for about a week and already am seeing some positive, though small, results.
    You mentioned Collagen. I have a packet from Japan that women use to improve their skin. I was wondering if at this stage if it might improve my gut. The thing is my sore innards can barely support any kind of pill or supplement. Are there others who have used this with success?
    Thanks, Janet
    PS It must be nice to have support around one. I have kept this more or less to myself all this time so maybe I have myself to blame if I don’t have any realtime validation. Now and then I have piped up about this condition but it seems ONLY those who have gone through it know what it is really like and give it the time of day.

    • Avatar

      Hi Janet. You can certainly try the collagen, as it does have many gut healing properties. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, as well as other necessary supplements, we have seen collagen assist in healing the gut.

  3. Avatar

    That is great you were able to heal without surgery, but your labral tear was not a major one. A complete year of the labrum will never totally heal due to the lack of blood supply. I had surgery for a pan labral tear and 7 screws put in. A year later, I am at 100 percent. During the same time, I opted to try physical therapy and herbs to treat my other shoulder with zero results. Before you go giving advice against surgery. The vag majority of major labral tears require surgery or else shoulder replacement will be in the near future due to bone on bone. And not all doctors recommend surgery to fund their vacation homes, sometimes it is actually in the patients best interest.

  4. Avatar
    Marjorie Flanagan says:

    Thanks for the information on your surgery. Im going in in a few weeks for a similar surgery. Can you tell me how long you think Ill need to take off work after the surgery? Just wondering what I will be feeling like after…


  5. Avatar

    I have a 4 and 8:00 labral full tears and part tendon tear in the supraspinatus rc. I opted for no surgery. Am going with latest Class 4 laser therapy for pain (I have nothing to lose but money) and if it helps with the pain and some in healing, great. Might check out Stem-Kine dietary supplement on the web that might help in stem cell production to help heal too (no guarantees at all–I probably wasted money on that yet when in pain, one will do about anything at least once. Also supplements for muscle aches at, a temporary relief for minor aches and pains after exercise–last product number was #1190-8 and their phone number was 1-800-223-8225. I can lift my arm yet not roll it like a pitcher. Might consider sleeping in a recliner where you can keep the arm downward and not in a horizontal level as the pain lessens and may have to go out and shop for a personal recliner that is just for sleeping use only. The vibrant web site has some products that supplement your diets too. No use in being pain 24/7. There are lots of options out there other than doctors and surgery. ONe may help one, yet not help another. You may have to just modify your sleep habits from now on to avoid pain. Also try massage treatments, trigger point therapy expert and regular massages to lossen up the SH area– though you may have to look for some of that expertise–check organic food places that have health stuff in the back pages. good luck with the pain.

    This is the other web site that has the laser therapy and the Stemcell supplement.

    If you don’t believe in organic, at least you know there are alternatiaves that may or may not work yet until one tries for real, one never knows.

    • Avatar

      Update: As of August 1st, 2012, I am back to normal. I have no pain. I can lift my bikes on my car no problem. I believe it is a combination of the Class 4 Laser therapy, the Stem Kine supplement, the herb muscle pain supplement for occasional overkill use, and the traditional massages had to relieve body stress in the shoulder area–all–which got me to be back to pain free state. My ortho doctor had told me that the pain would alway be there in the shouder area/arm elvating downward and I had no option to deal with the nightly and daily aches other than surgery which I declined to do unless absolutely necessary. Insurance didn’t pay for the extra stuff yet that wasn’t a concern. It may not help others yet if a person is in pain, even from an old injury, it is still worth a shot. It’s just money. A doctor will give you pills to keep you connected to him with side effects that make it worse for the patient, and the doctors don’t care–they just want more money to buy new cars or condos at vacation resort areasl Early April injury, month of May for PT sessions, back to work in June with 2-3 weeks of PT up to 19 sessions, which included 12 laser treatments through JUne and July–to be pain free and back to normal is amazing. I truly believe if the laser stuff had not been done, I owuld still be in pain. I have no proof that the Stem Kine did anything to my body yet I feel it made a difference. In case those web sites are down, most any health wellness store would have the ability to get those supplements in unable to find them on your own. My tears are still ther and will likely forever be there yet they do not hurt at all. There are always options to dealing with pain and one has to do the research themselves most of the time as relying on doctors who just want money is a bad proposition. I did look at what you did with your after surgery stuff and it sounds good and hope it works permanently. No one may ever read this or stumble across this website yet for those who do, don’t ever give up. Chow.

  6. Avatar
    Derrick Mcmillon says:

    I enjoy all the interesting feedback, I had a slap repair done mid Feb 2012, my shoulder started feeling well with the ROM getting better then things began to go down hill. Now I can’t ever lift my arm pass my shoulder are move it back and forth. And to add to this when it’s time for bed I can’t ever turn over or push or whole myself up at all. I’m just in pain all day 24hrs. Good thing I’m retired military and don’t have to work. I’m wondering if I torn the repair are did something go wrong with my surgery.

  7. Avatar

    hi steve,
    hope you are healing well with your good nutrition, excellent supplements, and positive attitude. thank you for everything that you do for the scd community!

  8. Avatar

    You are too old for that “espn” crap man. The last time I did that “look at me” crap I also got punished for my vain stupidity, now I have 2 metal screws in my shoulder permanently for it after breaking my collar bone going for ski mogul jump just before saying to everyone “watch this”. It took like 10 years for the scar and pain to full get back to normal though. People are so stupid and vain, nobody teaches us when we are young that we can’t just trade in our body like a car. I wish I had someone to teach me about vanity and basic philosophy when I was a child and I would have avoided so much stupid stuff I did for nothing.

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