Subacromial decompression is carried out to treat subacromial impingement. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and patients usually remain in hospital for one night post-operatively.
The procedure is performed using two small incisions through an arthroscopy, keyhole surgery, which small instruments can be passed. These instruments are used to remove any bony spikes, release tightened ligaments and increase the gap through which the rotator cuff passes.
Following surgery, patients will usually have a sling. Patients will usually be encouraged to start exercises immediately to regain function in the arm. A physiotherapy programme is usually started two to three weeks after surgery. It can take between three weeks and three months for the shoulder pain to settle and function can continue to improve for up to six months following surgery. Patients require two weeks off work after surgery, perhaps more if in a manual job. Patients will be able to begin driving after two weeks and gradually return to sport as comfort allows.