Subacromial Decompression

Patients that experience shoulder pain and shoulder weakness due to bursitis are candidates for a treatment known as subacromial decompression. Bursitis and impingement can lead to pain, disability, and tears of the rotator cuff.  The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that are integral for shoulder function.  These muscles arise from the shoulder blade and attach to the humerus.  As the muscles travel to attach onto the humerus, they travel underneath a portion of the scapula known as the acromium. In some instances, the bursal tissue located in this region can become irritated and inflamed, also known as bursitis.  Additionally, as changes occur with age and use of the shoulder, the acromium may impingement on the rotator cuff.

If conservative treatments fail to work, surgical intervention using an arthroscopic approach can be applied. The surgical procedure to remove the inflamed bursa from the acromium is known as a subacromial decompression.  Using arthroscopic instruments, Dr. Anz will make a small incision in the shoulder and the inflamed portion of the bursa and degenerative portions of the acromium, which are causing the impingement, are removed. Depending on the injury, if bone spurs exist, they will also be removed.

Following subacromial decompression shoulder surgery, patients will be prescribed a physical therapy program. Initially after surgery, they will wear a sling, but will begin active movement of the shoulder pretty quickly. If only a subacromial decompression is performed, range of motion can begin immediately after surgery and a full recovery can be anticipated at approximately 2 months.  Most patients are able to return to their previous activities without pain.

For additional information on shoulder bursitis, impingement, and other conditions that cause shoulder pain, or for additional resources on subacromial decompression, please contact the Gulf Breeze, Florida orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adam Anz located at the Andrews Institute.