Subacromial Decompression Overview
The rotator cuff is a complex structure made of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff connects the humerus (upper arm bone) to the scapula (shoulder blade) and plays a crucial role in shoulder function. As the muscles of the rotator cuff arise from the scapula and attach to the humerus, they travel underneath a portion of the scapula, known as the acromium. The motion that occurs there can create friction and consequently there is a bursal sac in the area designed to minimize any friction. With overuse or injury, the bursa can become inflamed and irritated. When the bursa becomes inflamed, pain develops particularly with overhead activity and is often called bursitis. Patients are often found to have spurs on the undersurface of the acromion narrowing the space available for the rotator cuff, resulting in subacromial impingement. If left untreated, there is a risk that the rotator cuff can eventually tear and require more extensive surgery. Patients experiencing pain in this area may be ideal candidates for an arthroscopic subacromial decompression to eliminate the spur and relieve the bursitis and subacromial impingement.. Dr. Mark Getelman is an expert arthroscopic shoulder surgeon and can assist Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California patients suffering from subacromial impingement with this decompression procedure.
Subacromial decompression is performed by Dr. Getelman arthroscopically. An arthroscope (small camera) and special surgical instruments are used to remove the bone spur and the inflamed bursa that is irritated. Once the procedure is complete, Dr. Getelman will gently move the repaired shoulder through a series of movements to ensure there is no remaining impingement.