What is Shoulder Impingement Surgery?

Many people are plagued with acute shoulder pain and weakness. This is a common occurrence from everyday activities. If the shoulder pain persists, intensifies, or impairs daily activities, you may have developed a condition called shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement, also called “swimmer’s shoulder”, is a condition where the tendons or bursa (a fluid-filled sac that cushions joints) become impinged within the shoulder bones.

What Are the Causes?
Repetitive overhead use or activity of the shoulder is a common cause of impingement syndrome. Examples of these activities include swimming, weight lifting, painting, and tennis. Other causes are certain types of bone and joint deformities. Over time, continued activities cause inflammation of the tendons and bursa in the rotator cuff area of the shoulder. Without proper medical attention the tendons can deteriorate and tear, leading to a rotator cuff tear or bicep muscle rupture.

What Are the Symptoms?
Typical symptoms of shoulder impingement include persistent pain in the shoulder area, shoulder weakness, shoulder stiffness, sharp pain during certain overhead activities, and/or nighttime shoulder pain.

How Is Diagnosis Made?
Our physicians will begin with a medical history and physical exam. An x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or arthrogram may be taken to rule out other possible causes.

What Is Involved During Treatment?
Conservative treatments can include a period of oral anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and cortisone injections into the shoulder capsule area. If these treatments do not resolve the symptoms, surgery may be required.

What Is Involved with the Surgery?
Impingement surgery is usually performed through an outpatient arthroscopic procedure; but can also involve open decompression. Surgery is undertaken to relieve pressure and inflammation on the soft tissues to minimize any further deterioration.

During surgery, the surgeon may remove tissue or ligament to increase the space between the shoulder’s rotator cuff and the area above it, called the acromion. This will provide more space for the area that has become squeezed by the inflammation.

The procedure may also involve the surgeon shaving down parts of the underside of the acromion. Osteophytes (bone spurs) that may have developed on the shoulder bones will be removed.

What Should I Expect During Recovery?
Recovery after surgery varies depending on whether you had an arthroscopic or open decompression procedure. Those who undergo arthroscopic surgery will experience less pain and faster recovery time. You can expect to begin some minor activities within a couple of weeks. Most patients experience full recovery within 3 to 6 months.

The recovery process will include exercises and stretches to reduce swelling and stiffness. Physical therapy may be recommended to aide in your rehabilitation.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, weakness of shoulder, stiffness of the shoulder or nighttime shoulder pain, give us a call or make an appointment.

Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine & Spine Center is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. POSMS is led by a group of 11 board-certified fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine & rehabilitation physician. Each physician specializes in one or more following areas: knee, shoulder, sports medicine, foot, ankle, hand, wrist, neck, back, spine, joint replacement and physical medicine.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!

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