Peter Hallam MS FRCS (Orth), Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Subacromial Decompression
This performed by keyhole surgery via a small cut at the back of the shoulder and another small cut at the side, the undersurface of the acromion is shaved to make more room for the rotator cuff tendon so it cannot jam as the arm is elevated.
Patient Information Sheet for Subacromial Decompression
After surgery, you will awaken with your arm in a removable sling, which you should wear, for comfort, for 2 weeks

As a guideline, after surgery you can use the arm “as pain allows”, but do not overdo it.
Your physiotherapist will show you how to release your arm from the sling and do gentle specific exercises with the arm.  When you go home, you should do these exercises 3 or 4 times a day.

You will be prescribed painkillers to take home, which in the majority of cases are usually sufficient.

Wound dressings can be removed 10 days after the operation.  Any stitches are dissolvable and will fall out by 3 weeks.

Mr Hallam will review you after 2 weeks.

An outpatient physiotherapy appointment will usually be arranged for you to attend within 2 weeks of surgery.  You may then be seen every few weeks and discharged at around 3 months after the operation.

You should expect significant recovery by 3 months, although full recovery can take 6-9 months.

Return to functional activities
Work - sedentary job:  as tolerated; manual job:  may need to modify activities for 12 weeks
Driving - 1 week
Swimming - breaststroke:  as able; freestyle:  12 weeks
Golf - 6 weeks
Racquet sports - avoid repetitive overhead shots for 12 weeks
Extra Info