Shoulder Impingement Surgery

When non-surgical treatments have been unsuccessful, your FHCH Sports Medicine Program orthopaedic surgeon may recommend surgery. The goal is to remove the impingement and create more space for the rotator cuff in the process. This will allow the “ball” of the humerus to move more freely, allowing you to lift your arm without pain.

Known as subacromial decompression or anterior acromioplasty, the procedure can either be performed arthroscopically or using open surgery techniques. In most cases, your surgeon will perform arthroscopic surgery.

First, two or three small puncture wounds are made, through which a fiber optic scope is inserted to view the region in detail. Small instruments can also be inserted to remove bone and soft tissue. In most cases, the front edge of the acromion is removed as well as some of the bursal tissue. Other issues can also be addressed at the same time in order to restore the shoulder area to its original condition as much as possible. These issues can include acromioclavicular arthritis, biceps tendonitis or a partial rotator cuff tear.



Once surgery has been completed, the arm may need to be placed in a sling for a period of time to allow it to heal properly. The sling can be removed to start an exercise program and do small tasks once it feels comfortable to do so. To restore the arm to its full use, your surgeon may recommend a rehabilitation program that is based on your needs and your injury. The goal of the program is to restore your range of motion and rebuild strength in the arm. It can take 2 to 4 months to be completely pain free, though it can take up to a year in some cases.

For causes, symptoms and non-surgical treatment options, click here.

If you have questions about surgical options or want to make an appointment with one of our sports medicine experts to discuss your condition, please contact our Patient Care Coordinators at 407.303.4204 and they’ll be happy to help you.