Shoulder decompression is surgery to relieve shoulder pain caused by inflamed shoulder tendons called shoulder impingement.
Clifton Park Hospital is a Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedics and shoulder decompression is a common procedure regularly performed by our qualified and experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in shoulder surgery.
Our shoulder specialists have direct and rapid access to excellent on-site diagnostic facilities and a comprehensive physiotherapy service to provide all the support you need to recover swiftly after your shoulder surgery.
Here at Clifton Park Hospital our surgeons typically operate arthroscopically when performing a shoulder decompression to relieve your shoulder pain to allow you to get back to doing the activities you love quickly and pain free.
What is shoulder decompression?
Shoulder decompression, also known as subacromial decompression or acromioplasty, removes swollen and irritated soft tissues (bursa and ligaments) and bone spurs in your shoulder joint to widen the space around your rotator cuff tendons, known as the acromial space. This decompression surgery takes the pressure off your inflamed rotator cuff tendon so that it doesn't rub or catch on anything nearby.
Most orthopaedic surgeons will perform this procedure arthroscopically and is known as arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASAD) shoulder arthroscopic decompression.
What are the benefits of shoulder decompression?
Most patients will benefit from significant shoulder pain relief as a result of shoulder decompression.
By removing your inflamed bursa or ligament and shaving bone away on the under-surface of your acromion more room is created in the acromial space. This means your rotator cuff tendon is able to move freely and without rubbing on your acromion and allows any swelling to go down.
Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is keyhole surgery so recovery is relatively fast. It is recommended if your symptoms have not responded to non-operative methods such as injections or physiotherapy.
What does shoulder decompression involve?
Shoulder arthroscopic decompression is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes about one hour.
Your surgeon will make several small cuts around your shoulder area. They will insert a miniature telescope into your shoulder joint to carefully assess the inside of your joint and tendons.
Special surgical instrument will be inserted through the cuts to remove inflamed soft tissues and bone. They may repair any damaged tendons at the same time.
Your cuts will then be closed.
Recovery after shoulder decompression
You can usually go home the same day of, or the day after, a shoulder decompression.
Before you leave, one of our highly qualified and experienced physiotherapists will teach you some exercises to strengthen your shoulder muscles and increase your range of motion as well as how to put on and take off a sling. If your arm is in a sling it can usually be discarded after two weeks.
Typically, you’ll continue regular treatment with your physiotherapist and exercises for two to three months. Any inflammation and discomfort should settle during this time.
You should ask your surgeon or physiotherapist about your return to work. You may be able to go back to work within a few days after surgery. This will be based on your operation and the type of job you have.
Most people can drive again after two to three weeks.
After six weeks you should have regained good ordinary use of your shoulder.
You can expect to resume activities that do not put too much demand on your shoulder around four weeks after surgery. More shoulder challenging activities such as racquet sports, golf and gardening will need to wait until two to three months post-surgery.
You will have a follow up appointment with your surgeon to monitor your progress.
What is the cost of shoulder decompression?
The cost of a shoulder decompression at Clifton Park Hospital can range from £4161 to £4795. This guide package price involves a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price and delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with our finance options.
If you have private medical insurance, your shoulder decompression may be covered by your policy. You should get written confirmation from your insurance provider before your surgery.