Slap Tear Surgery Cost

Last Updated on September 8, 2022
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

 SLAP is the acronym for the term that describes the injury – Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior.

The SLAP injury represents a rupture of the upper portion of the labrum – the physiological thickening of the capsule of the shoulder joint. This is also the place where the biceps brachii tendon is attached. The SLAP injury occurs in front (anteriorly) and behind (posteriorly) the place of insertion of the tendon head. The biceps brachii tendon may or may not be involved in the injury.

How Much Does Shoulder Slap Tear Surgery Cost?

There are several factors that will affect the cost of a SLAP tear surgery such as the complexity of the surgery, whether insurance is involved, what surgeon is performing the surgery, the place where you are living, billing inclusions, and the hospital you choose. Though, you should be prepared to pay anywhere between $15,000 and $35,000 in case you don’t have health insurance.

When talking about hospital billing, you can expect the entire procedure costs and also the professional fee for the surgeon who will do the procedure to be included in this fee. This estimate should also include pre- and post-operative care as well.

In case you have health insurance, the costs of this type of surgery will be covered only if it is deemed medically necessary by the doctor. As all the health insurance policies are different, it is recommended to contact your carrier and ask what costs are covered and what you will be responsible for. Some insurance companies may charge you a percentage of the total cost, while others require a co-pay or deductible.

According to the Shoulder Center, the cost of the SLAP tear surgery will be anywhere between $21,000 and $35,000 in case you don’t have health insurance.

SLAP surgery – short presentation

Shoulder arthroscopy is the most frequently used surgical method to treat SLAP-type bicipital tendon rupture.

In the past, SLAP-type bicipital tendon ruptures were difficult to diagnose, and surgical treatment was performed through a large incision, at least 20 cm at the shoulder level.

You might also like our articles on the cost of hand surgery, Achilles tendon surgery, or finger surgery.

Today, with the introduction of shoulder arthroscopy, it is operated through only 3 incisions of a maximum of 1 cm. The orthopedic doctor inserts a thin instrument, about 4-5 mm in size (the size of a pen), called an arthroscope, into the joint. It has a miniature video camera at the end and a light source in order to enlarge and illuminate the structures inside the joint. The video camera transmits the magnified images inside the joint to a monitor, so the orthopedist can see the entire joint very clearly.

What are the additional expenses?

SLAP tear ExplainedMiscellaneous and surgeon fees may not be included in the hospital bill.

During the surgery anesthesia will be administered and in general, this will not be included in the surgery fee. In case you don’t have health insurance you will have to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.

You may need to rest in the hospital for a few days after the surgery has been done. This is another cost to take into consideration. Depending on the geographical location, each hospital will charge anywhere between $800 and $2,000 per night without insurance.

Take into consideration attending physical therapy sessions for a few weeks so your shoulder will be at full strength again after the surgery has been done. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have to pay anywhere between $65 and $160 per session.


  • internal pain during rotational movement
  • pain when mobilizing, sometimes accompanied by the feeling of the shoulder being blocked, especially when lifting objects above the head
  • decrease in shoulder range of motion
  • the feeling of a heavy shoulder, without strength

The causes of SLAP injuries

Traumatic injuries and wear and tear caused by repetitive movement of the upper arm can cause SLAP injuries. Some specific causes of superior labrum injuries include:

  • a sudden pull of the arm
  • a fall on an outstretched arm
  • a direct hit on the shoulder

Important things to consider

People at risk are those who participate in sports that involve repetitive movements with arms raised above the head. Handball, volleyball, or baseball players are prone to labral tears because the throwing action causes a strong pull on the bicep’s tendon at the top of the labrum. Weightlifters can have similar problems when lifting weights overhead. Golfers can tear their labrum if their club hits the ground during the swing.

How can I save money?

SLAP tear surgery is not necessary for all situations, so you should try to get a second opinion. As we already mentioned above, your shoulder can get its full strength again with the help of physical therapy.

Contact your health insurance company to see how much they can cover for the SLAP tear surgery.

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