Subacromial Smoothing and Acromioplasty for Rotator Cuff Disorders
Surgery may be used to treat a rotator cuff disorder if the injury is very bad or if nonsurgical treatment has failed to improve shoulder strength and movement sufficiently. Subacromial smoothing involves shaving bone or removing growths on the upper point of the shoulder blade (acromion). It removes damaged tendon and bursa from the joint. The surgeon may also remove small amounts of bone from the underside of the acromion and the acromioclavicular joint (acromioplasty). The goal is to take away roughness while keeping as much of the normal supporting structures as possible. This surgery creates more room in the subacromial space. With more space, the rotator cuff tendon is not pinched or irritated and can glide smoothly beneath the acromion.
Subacromial smoothing, acromioplasty, and rotator cuff repair may be done using arthroscopic surgery or open surgery.
What To Expect After Surgery
You may go home a few hours after waking up from anesthesia. A family member or friend should drive you home. In some cases, the doctor may suggest that you stay overnight for help with pain and for observation. You will probably need help from friends or family for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
Discomfort after surgery may be relieved by:
With a doctor's approval, you may be able to return to light work within a few days after surgery even if you are using a sling.
Physical therapy after surgery is crucial for a successful recovery. A typical rehabilitation schedule includes the following:
When normal shoulder strength and range of motion return, usually after about 6 to 8 weeks, you can gradually go back to playing sports.
Why It Is Done
Smoothing may be done for people who:
Also, if you have a rotator cuff tear, you may have arthroscopic smoothing before open surgery.
How Well It Works
Most people who have surgery to smooth the bones and create more space for the rotator cuff usually have less pain with shoulder movement.1
In addition to the general risks of surgery, such as blood loss or problems related to anesthesia, complications of subacromial smoothing surgery for rotator cuff disorders may include:
Subacromial smoothing does not always correct the rotator cuff problem. Things that may cause the surgery to fail include:
What To Think About
Subacromial smoothing using arthroscopic surgery can usually improve shoulder function as well as open surgery can but without some of the drawbacks of open surgery. The benefits of arthroscopic surgery for subacromial smoothing include:
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