Shoulder Impingement Surgery


What is shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement occurs when your shoulder's rotator cuff tendons or bursa are intermittently trapped and compressed during shoulder elevation movements. Over time, impingement can lead to inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons (tendinitis) and bursa (bursitis). If not treated appropriately, the rotator cuff tendons can start to wear thin, leading to a rotator cuff tear. With impingement syndrome, pain is persistent and affects everyday activities. The most common cause of shoulder impingement is overuse, but age is also a factor. Over time, any activity with repetitive overhead movements may increase the risk of impingement.


What happens during surgery for shoulder impingement? 

The initial treatment of shoulder impingement centers around conservative treatment options, but if your symptoms do not respond to these, Dr. Potts may recommend minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to address your shoulder impingement. 

The most common surgery used to fix impingement is called a subacromial decompression (SAD). Using shoulder arthroscopy, small surgical instruments are inserted into the shoulder joint and are then used to shave down the bone widen the space around the rotator cuff to prevent friction. This allows easier movement and helps create more room in your shoulder to keep your tendon from being pinched. In cases with concurrent rotator cuff tears, a surgical rotator cuff repair may also be necessary.