Arthroscopic Acromioplasty

Impingement Syndrome:

Individuals who suffer from impingement syndrome at a significant level and have failed conservative care, may need to undergo an arthroscopic acromioplasty.  Impingement syndrome is a painful condition, with most people reporting significant shoulder pain when lifting their arm, or making repetitive overhead actions.  Pain may also be felt whilst sleeping.  Arthroscopic Acromioplasty is a surgical procedure intended to smooth the acromion bone (located on the shoulder blade), which in turn will prevent the Supraspinatus tendon (part of the rotator cuff), from rubbing against it and provide relief from shoulder pain. 

Impingement syndrome is most common in people over 40, but it can occur in younger people too. Symptoms may present gradually or acutely, depending on whether the initial injury was traumatic or overuse in nature.  Injury leads to inflammation and swelling in the supraspinatus tendon, which in turn decreases the available space beneath the acromion, causing pinch and pain. 

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement:

Impingement pain may be felt in the shoulder.  It commonly refers down the arm towards the elbow. Pain levels can vary from mild to severe.  Occasionally, it can cause partial movement loss.  There is often pain at night.

Treatment of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome:

Treatment typically involves the following – 

  • Use of anti-inflammatory medication and/or cortisone injections to help reduce inflammation, as appropriate.  Not everyone needs an injection.
  • Development of a tailored theraband strengthening exercise routine, centred around rehabilitation of the rotator cuff and scapula musculature.
  • Postural retraining and stretches to correct the scapula posture.

In following the above principles, most patients achieve a full recovery within 3-4 months. Strengthening, postural retraining and stretching are crucial to your recovery and these exercises should be performed twice daily. 

If there are no signs of improvement after a few months, an MRI may be advisable, to gain a better understanding of your joint pathology. 

Most people improve with non-operative management.  If, over time, your pain remains significant and conservative treatments have not worked, a consultation with a shoulder surgeon may be necessary to discuss surgical options.

This is a relatively straightforward keyhole surgery, which typically involves an overnight stay. 

Are you suffering from shoulder impingement syndrome?  Call now on 9744-2201 to schedule an appointment at Sydney Shoulder Clinic and begin your journey towards recovery.