24 April 2018,

what is shoulder decompression

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a painful condition that develops when the bursa and tendons in the shoulder are repeatedly compressed, or “impinged,” over time. Individuals who frequently raise their arms overhead for work or play are at an increased risk for developing this syndrome. Nonsurgical treatments can often effectively resolve the symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome, which include:

  • – Persistent pain
  • – Reduced range of motion
  • – Weakness
  • – Difficulty performing everyday tasks


Shoulder decompression may be recommended if nonoperative methods fail to treat these symptoms. So, what is shoulder decompression and how does it provide relief for sufferers of shoulder impingement syndrome?

What is Shoulder Decompression?

Shoulder decompression, also known as acromioplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to alleviate pressure on the soft tissues in the shoulder by increasing the amount of space between the acromion bone and the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. This can be achieved by shaving off part of the acromion and/or getting rid of bone spurs if they are present. Both of these methods serve to stop the bursa and rotator cuff tendons from being squeezed. This, in turn, gets rid of the patient’s shoulder discomfort and restores his/her normal range of motion.

The rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed and even split in two when shoulder impingement syndrome is left untreated for an extended period of time, thus leading to a rotator cuff tear. In such situations, rotator cuff repair surgery may be used in combination with shoulder decompression in order to resolve all of the patient’s shoulder issues.

Shoulder decompression can be performed as an arthroscopic or open surgical procedure. The most appropriate method varies depending on the patient’s age and activity level. It also depends on other factors, including whether a rotator cuff tear is present and how large it is. Both types of surgery have similar success rates. However, arthroscopic shoulder decompression typically offers a shorter recovery time and less scarring.

Dr. Soffer Is Highly Skilled in Treating Shoulder Conditions   

After reading the answer to “What is shoulder decompression?,” you may be wondering if this procedure is right for you. As an experienced, knowledgeable orthopedic surgeon offering cutting-edge treatments for issues such as shoulder impingement syndrome and torn rotator cuffs, Dr. Stephen Soffer can help you explore your shoulder care options. Dr. Soffer performs shoulder decompression and rotator cuff repairs in a minimally invasive way, without an incision, by using arthroscopy. To schedule an appointment with him, call our office at 610-375-4949. We hope this post has offered you a thorough response to the question “What is shoulder decompression?”. We look forward to providing you with the expert orthopedic care you deserve.

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