The type II superior labrum anterior to posterior (SLAP) repair is a viable option in young and demanding patients, although a prolonged period of pain after surgery is described in the literature. The reason for this fact remains unknown. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the molecular pattern of the biceps tendon anchor, where the sutures for repair are placed. The long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT), including the superior labrum, was dissected in the setting of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. Immunohistochemical staining was performed using neurofilament (NF) and protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 as general markers for axons and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P for nociceptive transmission. A quantitative assessment was performed according to the two regions of interest (ROIs), i.e., the anterosuperior (ROI I) and the posterosuperior labrum (ROI II). Eleven LHBTs with a mean age of 73 years (range: 66–87 years) were harvested intraoperatively. Six LHBTs were gained in osteoarthrosis and five in fractures. We found an inhomogeneous distribution of axons in the anterosuperior and posterosuperior parts of the labrum in all the specimens irrespective of the age, gender, and baseline situation. There was a significantly higher number (p
< 0.01) as well as density (p
< 0.001) of NF-positive axons in ROI I compared to ROI II. Nociceptive fibers were always found along the NF-positive axons. Thus, our results indicate that the biceps tendon anchor itself is a highly innervated region comprising different nerve qualities. The anterosuperior labrum contains a higher absolute number and density of axons compared to the posterosuperior parts. Furthermore, we were able to prove the presence of nociceptive fibers in the superior labrum. The results obtained in this study could contribute to the variability of pain after SLAP repair.
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