Acromioplasty is surgery done to release pressure on the rotator cuff in the shoulder. Impingement or pressure in the shoulder may be caused by bones and ligaments above the rotator cuff or under the shoulder blade due to overuse, injury or trauma. This condition can cause pain while sleeping or attempting to lift the arm above shoulder height. In cases where physiotherapy is not sufficient, Dr Khumalo may choose to perform a surgical decompression (acromioplasty) through minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Arthroscopic acromioplasty is done by inserting a small camera into your shoulder joint through puncture-like incisions once you are under general anaesthesia. The tiny camera that is inserted will allow images to be displayed on a screen so that your orthopaedic surgeon may view and work on the shoulder joint and blade. Using these small surgical tools, he may remove the spurs near the supraspinatus tendon which are causing pressure or impingement. Because this technique is minimally invasive and the surgical equipment used is so small, the recovery period is not only quicker, but also less painful than that of traditional open surgery.
Following arthroscopic acromioplasty, you can expect to experience some pain and swelling for the next few weeks. You will be prescribed pain medication and ice to relieve the pain. Your shoulder will be put into a sling for comfort, but you will be advised to stop using it as soon as possible. Your orthopaedic surgeon will advise you to have physiotherapy to help regain strength, mobility and coordination of the shoulder joint. Exercise may begin as early as one day post-surgery.
You will be able to return to normal activities with comfort only after full recovery, which may take up to 6 weeks. Until then, vigorous exercise and activity should be limited until strength and mobility returns. Most patients are back to their normal activity within 3 months of surgery.