What is Shoulder Impingement Surgery?

With the shoulder made of three main bones, known as the humerus (the upper arm bone), the clavicle (the collarbone) and the scapula (the shoulder blade), specific tendons and muscles also play a large role in keeping the shoulder in place and giving it its vast range of motion. The rotator cuff is what keeps your shoulder securely in its socket, but is quite susceptible to tears, overstretching and other oftentimes painful damage. Impingement occurs when the small space between the acromion (the bone at the top of your shoulder) and the rotator cuff narrows, allowing the bone to rub against the bursa and other sensitive tendons. Irritation and discomfort is most often felt by patients when they lift their arms to approximately shoulder height, but can become debilitatingly painful and cause inflammation and immobility around the area in severe cases.

Our Treatment Approach

At your initial consultation with OrthoCARE Institute, our experienced surgeons will conduct a full examination of your shoulder while reviewing your symptoms and health history. Sometimes additional diagnostic tests or imaging, such as an X-ray, MRI or CT scan, may be requested to understand the full scope of your condition and build the most effective treatment plan around your unique situation. Many times, we will recommend a combination of non-surgical, conservative treatments first before exploring surgical options. Non-invasive care may include:

  • Focused physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing medication
  • Rest and limited activity
  • Cortisone steroid injections

Approximately 90% of all patients experience improvement or outright resolution of their symptoms with 3 – 6 months of regular, ongoing conservative treatment. In the event of a severe case that requires surgical intervention, OrthoCARE Institute focuses primarily on compassionate, innovative minimally invasive methods that significantly shorten recovery times, use smaller incisions and minimize the risk of trauma to surrounding muscles and tissue.

Usually, recommended surgery for shoulder impingement will be an arthroscopic decompression procedure that generally follows these guidelines:

  • After incisions are created, an arthroscope (tiny camera) is inserted into the shoulder to allow the surgeon clear navigation of the affected area.
  • While the surgeon is inspecting the shoulder joint, loose bodies may be discovered and removed. The surgeon may also look for other damage that may not show up as clearly on any imaging.
  • The arthroscope is moved to the space above the rotator cuff, allowing the surgeon to smooth the area of bone that is irritating nearby tendons. Usually, edges of the acromion will be carefully removed, as well as any damaged tissue.

To get in touch with OrthoCARE Institute today and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled orthopedic surgeons, call 972-573-7802 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to helping you find the relief you need in your shoulder!

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