Shoulder (Subacromial) decompression is an operation on your shoulder which treats a condition called shoulder impingement, where you feel pain when you raise your arm.
What is Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement is a common type of shoulder pain which occurs when the tendons within your rotator cuff (which surrounds and supports your shoulder) become damaged. Causes of shoulder impingement may include:
- ‘wear and tear’ or overuse resulting in your tendons becoming swollen or torn
- the shape of the bone at the top of your shoulder blade (the acromion), causing it to rub against your tendons
- getting bony growths (spurs) on the acromion as you get older
Preparing for Subacromial Decompression
At Kingsbridge Private Hospital our expert orthopaedic consultant surgeons will prepare you for the operation and discuss what will happen before, during and after your procedure, and any pain you may have. You will probably have to have a general anaesthetic, so you will be asked to follow fasting instructions prior to the operation. Subacromial Decompression surgery is usually a day case procedure.
Alternatives to Subacromial Decompression
Shoulder pain has various causes and the symptoms can often be eased with other options such as self-help treatment, painkillers, or steroid joint injections.
Physiotherapy is also an option to help minimise pain and can help you get back to doing the things you love. At the Kingsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, we offer triage, assessment, and treatment for a range of injuries. Subacromial Decompression will only be recommended if other treatments have not worked for you.
What happens during subacromial decompression?
Subacromial decompression is most often done as a keyhole procedure using a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera called an arthroscope which aims to make more space under your acromion by removing some of the bone and tissue from its underside.
What to expect after a subacromial decompression?
You will need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic have passed. Let your nurse know if you are in pain. You will usually be able to go home when you feel ready, however someone else should drive you home. Before you leave hospital, your nurse will give you advice about caring for your wounds and tell you what to do about any stitches you have. You may need to keep your arm in a sling for a few days after your operation.
It usually takes up to four months to make a full recovery after a subacromial decompression procedure and you may need to see a physiotherapist after your operation.
Side-effects of subacromial decompression can include some pain and stiffness around your surgery after surgery. However, if you develop any further symptoms such as your wound bleeding or becoming red or swollen, or a high temperature please get in contact as this could indicate an infection.
If you would like to book an appointment or require further information on the available options, please do not hesitate to contact our private patient booking team via our online enquiry form.
Alternatively, email Kingsbridge Private Hospital