Overview | Causes of Shoulder Pain | Pain Prevention | Nonsurgical Options | Rotator Cuff Arthroscopy | Shoulder Impingement Surgery | Total Shoulder Replacement | Reverse Shoulder Replacement | Superior Capsule Reconstruction

Shoulder Impingement Surgery

Shoulder impingement is a common cause of shoulder pain. It’s also known as impingement syndrome or swimmer’s shoulder. Shoulder impingement is also common in other athletes who use their shoulders a lot, such as baseball or softball players.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach your upper arm bone to your shoulder. They help you lift and rotate your arm. If you have shoulder impingement, your rotator cuff catches or rubs against the acromion. When you lift your arm, the increased pressure irritates the rotator cuff, leading to impingement.

Impingement can occur for a variety of reasons. Injury to the rotator cuff such as a tear or strain injury can cause swelling. A spur may be another cause for impingement. Impingement can also occur with bursitis.

The initial treatment for patients with impingement will usually involve steroid injections to the subacromial space.

If steroid injections are unsuccessful then surgery will usually be considered if the shoulder has impingement. Surgery in most cases will involve arthroscopic (key hole) surgery.

Shoulder impingement surgery helps relieve pain by decompressing the small enclosed area around the rotator tendon of the shoulder joint. During this arthroscopic procedure, the bursa is removed and the orthopedic surgeon trims back the acromion bone to allow for normal pain-free motion. This minimally invasive procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis.

Post-operative recovery is normally a fairly rapid recovery. Surgery is not particularly long, often taking 15 minutes. It can take up to 3 months following the operation for full recovery to occur.