Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement is more likely to occur in young and middle aged people who engage in physical activities that require repeated overhead arm movements.

The pain may be due to a “bursitis” or inflammation of the bursa overlying the rotator cuff or a “tendonitis” of the cuff itself. In some circumstances, a partial tear of the rotator cuff may cause impingement pain.

Patients with impingement will experience pain with overhead activities and pain at night.

Acromioplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia to make more room available for the rotator cuff tendons. It can be performed with an arthroscope or with an open technique (larger incision). The primary advantage of arthroscopic technique is a shorter recovery time.

The anaesthesia numbs the affected shoulder and the arm. In an arthroscopic procedure, two or three small incisions are made. Each incision is called a portal.

In one portal, the arthroscope is inserted to view the shoulder joint. Along with the arthroscope, a sterile solution is pumped to the joint which expands the shoulder joint, giving your surgeon a clear view and room to work.

With the images from the arthroscope as a guide, your surgeon can look for any pathology or anomaly.

In most cases the front (anterior) edge of the acromion is removed along with some of the bursal tissue and last four or five millimeters of the clavicle to increase subacromial space for the rotator cuff tendons.

After treating the problem, the incisions (portals) are closed by suturing or by a tape and you are then taken to the recovery room.

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