Subacromial decompression surgical procedure

Subacromial decompression is a surgical process for the cure of Subacromial Impingement ailment. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is most commonly performed on an out-patient basis. Subacromial Impingement is a typical state where the rotator cuff  tendon is squeezed between the under-surface of the acromion and the humeral head. So after going through a process of conventional treatment, for instance, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication, and still the symptoms do not improve, then Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression  may be the next step in your treatment.

Subacromial decompression – in detail

During the subacromial decompression surgical procedure, depending upon person’s health condition, and with the consultation of anesthesiologist, a normal anesthetic, or shoulder block (also refers to as local anesthesia) will be provided to take care of pain during this process.

subacromial decompression

subacromial decompression

Subacromial decompression has typical prerequisites which include a medical clearance from family physician or internist. Additionally,  before subacromial decompression surgery, pre-operative blood testing will also be taken, and about a week before the due date of this surgical process, all anti-inflammatory medications including but not limited to mortin, aspirin,
etc. must be stopped in order to minimize bleeding during subacromial decompression surgery.

In subacromial decompression, a bunch of tiny incisions are made around the shoulder area to gain access into the joint.  While operating, the surgeon make use of video camera and arthroscope to look into the structures inside the shoulder and makes sure to diagnose the subacromial decompression or impingement.  An additional advantage of direct observation of  shoulder joint is that any unexpected or unusual pathology can be discovered and operated during subacromial decompression surgery.

Once the diagnosis part of the subacromial decompression surgery is done, a variety of ultra hi-tech “micro motorized” tools are penetrated into the subacromial area and the bone from beneath the acromion is eliminated.  Removal of bone is completed when the tendons of rotator cuff are easily gliding between the acromion and humeral head without catching on the bone.

After the arthroscopic procedure is successfully done, the surgical openings are joined with a single stitch, dressing and sling are applied and the patient is moved to the recovery room, from where s/he is discharged to home in a hour or so.  Before discharging the patient, s/he also receives details about taking care of surgical part along with prescription for pain medication.

Typically patients will experience that mild analgesics will be required to control their pain. But in case, if a temperature of more than 100 degrees is observed and the pain gets intolerable with numbness and tingling in shoulder, hand or arm, then consult the doctor immediately.

After subacromial decompression surgery, you are required to visit doctor’s office within a day or two. During this visit, dressing will be changed and the operated area will be covered with “band-aids”.  Generally, a physical therapy is recommended following subacromial decompression and the patient will be provided with a prescription regarding therapy.

Subacromial decompression – Conclusion

In short, arthroscopic subacromial decompression is a minimally invasive surgical method. It results in nearly no scaring,  very little pain, and a speedy return of functionality. It should be kept in mind that symptoms may take up several weeks to resolve, after which time the full benefits of surgery are noted. However, the vast majority of patients find a rapid  improvement just a few days after surgery.