Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

Shoulder impingement syndrome

Shoulder impingement is caused by the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming compressed between the joint and the shoulder blade. This is usually due to a narrowing of the space in which they sit, due to the formation of bony deposits or spurs. The Subacromial space is formed by the part of the shoulder blade, called the Acromium, and the head of the Humerus. Shoulder impingement can become a very painful and inflammatory condition, which can in turn lead to a weakening of the rotator cuff tendons.

The recovery process: the procedure

Arthroscopic decompression - the procedure

This procedure is a minimally invasive technique, which employs ‘keyhole’ surgery, thus enabling a faster recovery. It usually takes approximately 3 months following the surgery, to experience pain relief, and 6-9 months for the end point.

The aim of the procedure is to create more space for the tendons of the Rotator Cuff to pass through. By removing part of the Acromial bone and associated bony spurs, more space is created enabling the tendons to glide more freely.

The recovery process: milestones


  • 1 - 2 weeks post operative to be able to return to driving as able      
  • 6 weeks – a full range of movement should be possible
  • Lifting, as able
  • Return to sports: swimming - this can take up to 2 months, golf - this usually takes over 3 months, racquet sports - this can take 3 months or more.