Shoulder impingement surgery overview

This outpatient shoulder surgery relieves pain by decompressing the tight space around the rotator tendon of the shoulder joint. The surgeon removes the bursa and trims back the acromion bone to allow for normal pain-free motion. In most cases, this procedure is performed arthroscopically.

Flow of the shoulder impingement surgery

Incisions made

The surgeon creates three small incisions in the shoulder to access the joint. A thin metal tube is inserted in one incision. Fluid is pumped through the tube and into the joint. This expands the joint giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work.

Arthroscope Inserted

An arthroscope, which contains a light and a small video camera, is inserted into another incision. This gives the surgeon a clear view of the joint and the hooked acromion.

Swollen tissue removed

With the video images from the arthroscope as a guide, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments through the third incision. The swollen bursa tissue is removed.

Ligament cut

Another surgical tool is inserted to cut away the impinging coracoacromial ligament.

Bone shaved away

The hooked portion of the acromion bone is shaved away, opening up the space above the supraspinatus tendon.

End of the shoulder impingement surgery

After the joint is drained and the instruments removed, the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures or tape and the shoulder is bandaged. Physical therapy will begin within few days to help restore the shoulder to its full function.