Torn Labrum - biodegradable sutchers?

Hi All,
I have been diagnosed with a torn labrum and I have seen a specialist who suggested an operation to place an anchor in the bone and reattach the ligament with a suture. There is a possibility of a biodegradable anchor, but according to the specialist the suture won’t biodegrade. The surgeon just said biodegradable suture generally don’t have the strength required. I’m told the labrum normally retains full strength after 6 months.

The physio told me about a couple of patients who are thin (like me) who hate the feeling of the suture and as it isn’t needed after 6 months have an operation to have it removed, which is purely for the patient comfort, it doesn’t medically need to come out.

I feel I may be in this category of patient mentioned above and am concerned to undertake surgery which may also need surgery 6 months later.

If everything could biodegrade that would be ideal.

My question is, are biodegradable suture used ever to hold ligaments similar to this and are there surgeons out there which would do this style of operation. If not, if anyone is in the medical research field who would know about advancement in suture technology, and is it worth waiting 5 or 10 years etc as I’m told this isn’t urgent surgery, can be done anytime. Pain can be reduced with specific exercises. I’d rather have it done right then done quickly.


  • So you don’t know if you will even notice the feeling, but you are worried about just in case?

    • Yeah.

  • +1

    What the specialist is suggesting is likely an extracapsular repair using a thick, non-absorbable nylon implant with a toggle to stabilise the joint. It's typically very well-tolerated. If you're unhappy, the implant removal is much simpler than putting it in because you won't need bone tunnels drilled.

    My question is, are biodegradable sutchers used ever to hold ligaments similar to this

    Not really. Absorbable sutures typically resorb within weeks, not months-years, don't have the tensile strength, and actually have much more tissue reaction than nylon.

    If not, if anyone is in the medical research field who would know about advancement in sutcher technology, and is it worth waiting 5 or 10 years etc as I’m told this isn’t urgent surgery, can be done anytime.

    Not as far as I'm aware, but this is a question for your surgeon, not Ozbargain.

    • -1

      Thanks for the info!
      The problem I find with some surgeons is they tend to be very set in their ways and won’t suggest alternatives, such as go to xyz surgeon they do this etc.
      I’ve had things in the past where I’m told its the only way and then from a chance encounter I learn there is another way etc.

      • You could always DIY if you're not happy with what qualified surgeons recommend

  • +4

    No wonder people are taking horse medicine if someone talks to a surgeon then comes to find out what OzBargain thinks.

    If you're not happy, get a second opinion from another medical professional. Not the internet.

    • +1

      I guess it can’t do any harm, it can be difficult to find a good surgeon without word of mouth.

      I asked the GP once if they could recommend a good surgeon so they googled it and said here is a surgeon with good reviews. Another time I asked them a medical question they didn’t know and they were reading a wikipedia article…..gotta stop going to myhealth branded surgeries. Maybe I should make a new page, how do I find a good GP lol.

      • +1

        it can be difficult to find a good surgeon without word of mouth.

        What kind of horse dewormer are you smoking?

        The absolute vast majority of people do not have any frequent experience with surgeons to have any worthwhile recommendations.

        Listen to the surgeon, with their many years of study and experience they know better than a bunch of arm chair experts.

  • Yes, in the future we can grow arms to transplant on your torso, just hold out OP

  • +1

    The labrum isn't a ligament. I'm not sure it would be as uncomfortable as you're imaging it would be?

    • Yeah I’m not sure, just the physio said some people hate it.

  • Are we talking about sutures or something else?

    • The surgeon just referred to it as a suture which is wrapped around the labrum and anchored to the bone, to hold it in place.

  • +1

    I'm really fascinated by your constant use of "sutcher" when the spellcheck'll tell you it's wrong and a quick google search will tell you there's no such thing and the first thing that comes up is suture……

  • I have no clue except to say seek a second opinion. You can even ask your specialist if they recommend anyone. A good doctor will always be happy to help you get a second opinion.

  • My question would be: Who would you trust more? The surgeon performing the surgery who knows the implants & where he/she's putting them, or the physio who may or may not know where exactly the suture is being placed? There are may varieties of torn labrum, & many different ways to place anchors & sutures, & many different materials to make these out of. Your description of the specialist's description sounds like one fairly standard practice, but I've never heard of a patient having a labral suture removed for discomfort before as the physio is describing. Maybe you should ask your specialist that specific question, or seek another opinion?

    • It isn't really a case of who do I trust more, it's just about getting different opinions from different people.
      I did ask the surgeon that after speaking to the physio and they just gave me a generic answer saying that some people find it uncomfortable and have surgery to remove it.

  • Hey can I ask if you have private health insurance or not?

    • Yeah, I do.