What is shoulder arthroscopy and decompression?Shoulder arthroscopy and decompression is a procedure used to treat shoulder impingement, which occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff muscles are squeezed or pinched by the surrounding structures in the shoulder. This procedure decompresses the rotator cuff tendons to return the patient to pain-free and normal mobility.
Who needs this procedure?Symptoms of impingement vary, but include inflammation, pain, and limited range of motion. In some cases, there will be acute shoulder pain when raising the arms over the head, laying on the affected shoulder, or reaching backwards. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions, including shoulder osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, can occur in almost any joint in the body. Shoulder osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage acting as a cushion between the bones in the shoulder joint deteriorates, which can occur from natural degeneration, trauma, injury, or infection. This narrows the space between bones in the shoulder joint, which can result in bursitis and bone spurs. Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac called the bursa, located above the rotator cuff. If the bursa and coracoacromial ligament, a ligament above the shoulder joint, are rubbing together, it can also contribute to shoulder impingement. Subacromial impingement occurs when the underside of the acromion, a bone that is above the bursa, is irregularly shaped, often having a "hooked" shape. This shape can occur from development of bone spurs from osteoarthritis or other conditions, but it can also be present from birth. The abnormal bone mass can rub against the bursa, causing bursitis in the shoulder, which puts pressure on the rotator cuff. Your doctor may suggest shoulder arthroscopy and decompression if your condition does not respond to conservative treatment like injection, physical therapy, or rest.