Shoulder impingement surgery is an outpatient procedure that relieves pain by decompressing the tight space around the rotator tendon of the shoulder joint. The surgeon removes the bursa and trims back the acromion bone to allow for normal pain-free motion. The goal is to remove the impingement and create more space for the rotator cuff in the process. This will allow the “ball” of the humerus to move more freely, allowing patients to lift their arm without pain. In most cases, this procedure is performed arthroscopically.

To start, two or three small puncture wounds are made, through which a fiber optic scope is inserted to view the region in detail. Small instruments can also be inserted to remove bone and soft tissue. In most cases, the front edge of the acromion is removed, as well as some of the bursal tissue. Other issues can also be addressed at the same time in order to restore the shoulder area to its original condition as much as possible. These issues can include acromioclavicular arthritis, biceps tendonitis or a partial rotator cuff tear.