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Subacromial Decompression

Why might Subacromial Decompression?

A subacromial decompression (SAD) is an operation on the shoulder that treats a condition called shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement causes pain when lifting your arm. One of the shoulder tendons (the supraspinatus) commonly becomes worn and painful, and this can cause swelling in turn causing your bones to form a spur to then result in impingement.

shoulder stabilisation

What are the risks of having Subacromial Decompression?

Complications relating to general surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Pain or stiffness
  • Nerve injury

How to prepare for Subacromial Decompression

If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop as it delays healing and increases risk of getting a chest or wound infection. The procedure will be done under general anaesthetic and you will be given instruction as to when you should stop eating prior to the surgery. You will be explained both the benefits and the potential risks of the surgery by your surgeon. We will make sure that you feel completely at ease, and give you every opportunity to ask as many questions as you wish.

What will happen during my surgery?

The operation aims to increase the space between the shoulder and acromion. This is done by removing some tissue and shaving away some of the bone on the underside and lateral side of the acromion. This is usually done as a keyhole (arthroscopic) procedure. This procedure if often combined with others such as a rotator cuff repair.

Once your surgery is finished, you will be taken back to your room to recover. Your Consultant will talk to you about any after care you may need before discharging you.

Information For GPs

If you are a GP and would like to refer a patient, ask a question or enquire about our education events, please visit our dedicated GP page, by clicking here.