Acromioplasty

An acromioplasty is a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgical procedure of the arcomion, which is the top portion of the shoulder blade or the shoulder bone extending above the shoulder joint. This surgery is performed using the minimally invasive arthroscopic method using a small and flexible tube fitted with tiny specialized surgical instruments.

This surgery requires removing a portion from the surface of the acromion which could be causing damage to the tendon tissue. This surgery is useful in treating ‘impingement syndrome’, which is a condition resulting from an injury to the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder and is more prevalent among aging adults.

Impingement Syndrome

This is a medical condition that occurs in the event that a tendon in the shoulder joint rubs against the surface of the acromion, which is an extension of the shoulder blade. This causes severe pain in the shoulder which is magnified when moving the arm above the shoulder height especially as well as being painful at night.

This condition can develop gradually over a long period of time or it may develop suddenly (acute). This condition may be caused due to a traumatic injury to the shoulder joint or due to overuse which results in swelling and inflammation in the affected tendon. This causes the space for the acromion to get decreased and the leads to worsening pain and restricted muscle use.

Acromioplasty treatment

An acromioplasty, also known as a ‘subacromial decompression’, is preformed as a minimally invasive surgical procedure using the arthroscopic method. An arthroscope is a small and flexible medical-grade tube-like instrument which, initially, has a light-source and a video camera attached to its end. The arthroscope can also be fitted with specialized miniature surgical instruments that may be required for the surgical procedure.

The surgery begins with the administering of general anesthesia commonly, in order to decrease the discomfort and pain that might be caused to the patient during the surgery. The surgeon will then make a few (3-4) very small (keyhole) incisions around the shoulder. One of the incisions will be used to insert the arthroscope with the video camera attached into the shoulder joint to locate and check the bone spur (subacromial) impingement on the tendon.

After determining the presence of the bone spur the surgeon will then use specialized surgical instrument (diathermy probe) to gently shave (remove) the upper surface of the acromion bone from beneath. This helps make more space around the shoulder joint and the trapped tendon is released and allows for unrestricted movement of the shoulder. In case the injury causes any additional damage the surgeon will perform the required treatment procedure at the time of the acromioplasty.

Advantages of Acromioplasty

An acromioplasty is one of the more advantageous and efficient treatment procedures for repair of a damaged shoulder tendon (impingement syndrome) as compared to other treatment methods for the same condition.

This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which allows for less pain, less scarring and shorter hospital stay and recovery period after the surgery. The arthroscopic method requires less number of incisions as well as smaller (keyhole) incisions than those required in a conventional surgery method.

The video camera attached to the arthroscope provides the surgeon with a clear view and real-time images of the injured tendon and bone spur (acromion) allowing for more accurate and precise surgery without damage to the surrounding healthy tissues, nerves, bones or blood vessels.

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