Arthroscopic acromioplasty

Certain cases require arthroscopy to decompress shoulder tendons. Let us evaluate the situation.

The most frequent shoulder pains are related to a dysfunction of the tendons (rotator cuff) around the joint.

When raising the arm, painful friction under the acromion can cause degeneration and inflammation of the rotator cuff (impingement syndrome, cuff tendinitis, subacromial bursitis).

The inflammation can be greater if calcium is present (calcific tendinitis). The inflammation sometimes spreads throughout the articulation and causes incapacitating stiffness of the shoulder (frozen shoulder or capsulitis).

When a «conservative» treatment using anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy or steroid infiltrations fails, subacromial decompression using acromioplasty may be indicated. The surgery consists in removing part of the subacromial bursa and thinning the acromion bone using instruments and a camera the size of a pencil, inserted through tiny incisions in the shoulder's skin.

This surgery is called arthroscopy. It aims to decrease the friction of the cuff's tendons on the acromion.