Pre-operative Information -Arthroscopic Sub-Acromial Decompression


You have been diagnosed with Subacromial Impingement.

This condition is due to a combination of factors which includes problems with the coordinated movement of the shoulder blade. This may be managed with physiotherapy

There is also a relative narrowing of the space over the rotator cuff tendons due to thickening of the acromion which forms a spur

This bony spur then irritates the bursa which overlies the tendon

You have agreed  that the next sensible step is a keyhole operation to treat this condition.

This is called an Arthroscopic Subacromial decompression

This operation is usually performed as a Daycase with no need for an overnight stay.

It is normally performed under general anaesthetic (with you asleep) and the anaesthetist may also block the nerves of the arm.

The operation is performed though several small incisions around the shoulder and involves removal of the inflamed bursa and bone spur.

For intra-operative images and videos Click Here

The procedure takes 45-60 mins

Wounds are usually closed with dissolvable stitches

After the operation:

  • You will see the physiotherapist prior to your discharge. They will show you how to release your arm from the sling and do specific exercises with the arm.
  • It is important to keep the arm moving and painkillers should be taken to facilitate this
  • You will have a follow-up appointment at 2 weeks The stitches will be trimmed prior to seeing Mr Griffiths
  • You should expect significant recovery by 6 weeks but will continue to recover for 3-6 months


Return to Functional Activities:                                                Driving                                               1-2 weeks 

Swimming                                           As pain allows

Golf                                                        6 weeks

Repeated Overhead Activities      2-3 months

Lifting                                                 As able

Work                                                      Sedentary - As able ;

 Manual - 6 weeks, may need  to modify activity for 3 months