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Shoulder decompression surgery

Arthoscopic subacromial decompression (acromioplasty)

An arthroscopic or keyhole operation to treat pain related to shoulder impingement and improve your range of movement

About shoulder decompression surgery

Shoulder pain is often caused by rotator cuff impingement. This means that your rotator cuff tendon is pinched or rubbed by the bones in your shoulder. Subacromial decompression is a surgical procedure to remove excess bone and increase the space between the tendons and the acromion (point of the shoulder blade).

Need to know

  • What happens during a shoulder decompression? icon plus

    Subacromal decompression is usually done as an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure using general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make a few small cuts on your shoulder, allowing them to insert a tiny surgical camera called an arthroscope.

    The arthroscope helps them to see inside your shoulder joint, while they use specialised surgical instruments to shave away excess bone (bone spur) and repair tendon damage.

    Your surgeon may also need to remove a small portion of bone where your shoulder and collarbone meet (distal clavicle). The whole procedure takes around an hour.
  • How to prepare for shoulder surgery icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. They will let you know how to prepare, including how long you should avoid eating and drinking beforehand.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After shoulder surgery icon plus

    You should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. You'll need to wear the sling for a few days afterwards to help stabilise your shoulder as it heals. It can take several months to make a full recovery.

    Your consultant will let you know what to expect and how to care for your shoulder. They'll give you advice on pain management and let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise.

    They may also recommend physiotherapy exercises to help you improve your flexibility and regain strength in your shoulder.

Our shoulder consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in shoulder problems and upper limb conditions including the elbow. 
Consultant in theatres

Our locations

From complex shoulder surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Wellington Hospital - South Building

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 020 7483 5148
    General enquiries 020 7586 5959
    Post COVID Recovery service 020 7483 5348

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773

  • The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7730 8298
    General enquiries 020 7730 7733

  • The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 7908 8001
    General enquiries 020 7486 1234

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

  • HCA UK at The Wilmslow Hospital

    52-54 Alderley Road

    Wilmslow

    SK9 1NY

    Appointments 020 7483 5148
    General enquiries 01615 160 961

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    HCA UK at The Shard

    The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street

    London

    SE1 9BS

    Call 020 3131 6888
    Opening hours 7:30 - 20:00 Monday - Friday

  • Platinum Medical Centre facility

    Platinum Medical Centre

    Platinum Medical Centre, 15 - 17 Lodge Road

    London

    NW8 7JA

    Call 020 7483 5148

  • Facility-chelsea-outpatient-cenre-hero-579x579

    Chelsea Outpatient Centre

    280 Kings Road

    London SW3 5AW

    Call 020 7881 4114
    Opening times 8am - 8pm

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

020 7079 4344
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