Defining Subacromial Decompression

Have you ever experienced the feeling of tight muscles? Tendons and ligaments can become tight due to overuse. Overuse happens when you perform the same activities for an ongoing period of time. This can cause stress on the joints and surrounding tissues, causing the tendons to contract and tighten.

The subacromial decompression procedure helps to release the tight ligament of the coracoacromial arch by shaving some of the surface under the acromion. This procedure allows for more room for the rotator cuff tendons to move under the roof of the shoulder.

The procedure itself is a keyhole surgery where the surgeon inserts a thin fibre-optic camera, known as an arthroscope, through a small buttonhole-sized incision. The view of the joint is then projected onto a screen. The surgeon will use thin surgical instruments to continue the procedure and manipulate the joint. 

Prior to someone opting for this type of procedure, the patient usually would have undergone other forms of treatment such as physiotherapy and steroid injections. Sometimes these conservative measures are not successful and the impingement syndrome will fail to respond to these methods. The benefit of this surgery is that it is a same-day procedure that does not involve an open surgery, so recovery for the patient will therefore be less painful and ideally quicker. Surgeons report a success rate of approximately 80%, but it can take a number of months to a year for the patient to feel the full benefit.

The best shoulder surgeons around Melbourne will be confident in performing a subacromial decompression. Through some research and talks with your GP or physical therapist, you will be able to find the surgeon that is right for you.

If you’re feeling nervous about your upcoming surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon all the questions you need and want to ask. This will help you feel at ease and more comfortable going into the surgery.