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Shoulder decompression surgery

What is shoulder decompression surgery?

Shoulder subacromial decompression (also called acromioplasty) is a surgical procedure to treat shoulder impingement, a common condition that causes weakness in your shoulder and pain when you raise your arm above your head. It is performed using keyhole surgery.

Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons that support the rotator cuff muscles become dysfunctional and damaged.

Sometimes the shape of the bones at the top of your shoulder blade (the acromion) genetically predisposes you to irritation of the tendons. Bony spurs on the acromion can also cause damage to the tendons.

What does shoulder decompression surgery involve?

The aim of shoulder decompression surgery is to make more space under your acromion, a large bony projection on the top of shoulder blade, by removing some of the bone and tissue. It is performed under general anaesthetic as an arthroscopic procedure (keyhole surgery). A thin, flexible tube with a camera on one end called an arthroscope is inserted into a small incision in your shoulder. This allows your consultant to see inside the joint. Tiny surgical instruments are inserted through a second small incision and bone and tissue is gently removed from the underside of the acromion. If the surgeon also finds damaged tendons they may need to repair these in the same procedure (this will be discussed with you before the procedure). The incisions will be closed with sutures once the surgery is complete.

Shoulder decompression surgery

Shoulder and elbow consultants

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