This is indicated when an inflammatory process or scuffing on the under surface of the acromion, coracoacromial ligament and on the bursal side of the rotator cuff (i.e. presence of impingement). Usually this intervention is grouped into subacromial decompression only and subacromial decompression with rotator cuff repair (Judge et al., 2014).
The AC joint stays intact, unless an excision is indicated, the distal clavicle and part of the acromion is removed. The superior AC ligaments remain intact so the joint stays stable.
Patients with consistent impingement complain of pain with overhead activities over an ongoing period of time, are likely candidates for subacromial decompression interventions (Rockwood, 2009).
After surgery, physiotherapy with with specific shoulder exercises, hand on treatment and postural education are necessary for a satisfying outcome; recommended therapy is up to post 3 months of surgery (Dorum et al., 2016)
Rockwood C.A. and Matsen F.A., 2009, The Shoulder, 4th Edition, Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, p:898
Judge A. et al., 2014, Temporal trends and geographical variation in the use of subacromial decompression and rotator cuff repair of the shoulder in England, The Bone and Joint Journal, DOI: 10.1302/0301-620X.96B1.32556
Dorum I.H. et al., Implementation of conservative treatment prior to arthroscopic subacromial decompression of the shoulder, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, doi:10.1007/s00167-016-4091-4