Shoulder impingement surgery or subacromial decompression is a surgical procedure that aims to alleviate shoulder pain and improve function by removing structures that compress the shoulder joint. Here’s an overview of the condition and the surgical intervention:Here’s an overview of the condition and the surgical intervention:

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a condition that develops when the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa that surrounds them are squeezed between the bones of the shoulder joint. This can result in pain, inflammation and reduced mobility.


Repetitive overhead activities

Shoulder injury

Bone spurs

Poor posture


Pain in the shoulder when lifting the arm

Pain during shoulder movements

Weakness in the shoulder

Decreased range of motion


Physical examination

Other diagnostic procedures like X-ray, MRI or ultrasound.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Rest and activity modification

Physical therapy

Anti-inflammatory medications

Corticosteroid injections

Surgical Treatment

In some cases, if the conservative measures do not help with the symptoms, surgery might be recommended. The aim of the surgery is to increase the size of the space through which the rotator cuff tendons pass, thereby decreasing the likelihood of impingement and the resultant symptoms.

Kinds of Shoulder Impingement Surgery

Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression:

A surgical procedure in which surgery is done with the aid of an arthroscope which is a small device that contains a small camera and surgical instruments that are inserted through small incisions.

The surgeon cuts away the bone spurs, reduces the size of the acromion which is the part of the shoulder blade and may also remove the inflamed bursa.

It is less painful and the recovery period is shorter than that of open surgery.

Open Shoulder Surgery:

A more aggressive form of the procedure that requires a bigger cut.

May be necessary for more complicated jobs or if further repairs are necessary.

Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

Immobilization: The shoulder may be immobilized in a sling for a few days to a week.

Physical Therapy: One of the important aspects of the treatment, which includes mobility exercises, muscle-strengthening exercises, and functional exercises for the shoulder.

Recovery Time: Depending on the patient and the extent of the surgery, it can take from several weeks up to several months.

Potential Risks and Complications


Nerve damage


Incomplete relief of symptoms

Success Rate

The majority of the patients are likely to undergo pain relief and enhanced shoulder movement after the surgery for shoulder impingement. However, the results will depend on various factors like the general health of the patient, his or her compliance with the rehabilitation program, and the initial status of the patient.


Shoulder impingement surgery can be helpful in minimizing pain and improving mobility of patients who have failed conservative management. Speaking with an orthopedic surgeon about the advantages and disadvantages of the surgery as well as the possible results is crucial before deciding on the procedure.