Shoulder decompression removes tissue and part of the acromion bone of the shoulder blade.
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This procedure is done to treat shoulder impingement. This is when the rotator cuff rubs against the acromion bone. This surgery make space within the shoulder joint. This can ease pain and improve range of motion.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
Small incisions will be made in the shoulder. A special tool called an arthroscope will be inserted. An arthroscope is a flexible tube with a light at the end and a camera attached. This will allow the doctor to view the inside of the shoulder on a screen. Tiny instruments will be inserted into the other incisions. The joint will be examined. The underside of the acromial bone may also be shaved to help increase the subacromial space. Damaged or inflamed soft tissue will be removed. Other repairs may be done. The arthroscope will be removed. The incisions will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.
About 1 hour
Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care can help.
Most people leave the same day. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
Physical therapy will be started soon after the procedure.
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It may take 1 month to heal. Physical activity will be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay return to work.
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Arthroscopic shoulder decompression. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/orthopaedics-rheumatology/treatments-procedures/arthroscopic-shoulder-decompression. Accessed September 29, 2020.
Escamilla RF, Hooks TR, et al. Optimal management of shoulder impingement syndrome. Open Access J Sports Med. 2014;5:13-24.
Management of rotator cuff impingement. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/management-of-rotator-cuff-impingement. Accessed September 29, 2020.
Shoulder impingement/rotator cuff tendinitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00032. Accessed September 29, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 6/9/2021