Subacromial decompression is a type of surgery employed to prevent tendons and bones found in the shoulder from rubbing against one another when raising your arm. When is this procedure done and how will the surgery go? If you’re assigned to undergo subacromial decompression, this article will tell you all about the surgery procedure, what to expect during the surgery and afterwards.
What is Subacromial Decompression?
The subacromial area is found between the top of the humerus or the upper arm bone and the acromion, a small bone that is attached at the upper area of the shoulder blade. Around this area is a tiny, fluid-like sac called the bursa. A variety of overhead movements, such as those found in various activities like golf, may cause swelling and irritation in the bursa. This disorder is what doctors refer to as bursitis. Repeated overhead movements may also cause the irritation and swelling of your rotator cuff tendon. This particular disorder is called tendonitis. In this disorder, body spurs form on along the shoulder blade as it frequently comes in contact with the humerus. These bony spurs, also called osteophytes, form due to the overgrowth of the bone.
In the case of bursitis, the inflammation of the bursa reduces the space between the rotator cuff tendon and the shoulder blade. In effect, the tendon becomes squeezed, causing pain and restricting the movement of the affected. What subacromial decompression does is open up this space by extracting bony spurs and changing the shoulder blades shape.
Subacromial Decompression: Preparation, Procedure, and Healing
Subacromial decompression is done by utilizing a tube-like, narrow, telescopic camera doctors call an arthroscope. The camera is gently inserted through the joint via a small cut. In order for the surgeon to see inside the shoulder joint of the affected, the arthroscope is linked to a monitor. According to research and statistics, arthroscopic surgery is safe, with very limited complications arising from it.
What are the Alternatives of Subacromial Decompression?
In most cases, subacromial decompression is only suggested by a surgeon if other treatment methods prove to be unsuccessful. Among these treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, or physiotherapy.
How Can You Prepare for Subacromial Decompression?
Surgeons will tell you all about the things you have to do for prepare for your surgery. For example, smokers will be advised to stop smoking for it increases the chance of getting a wound and chest infection, which is the last thing you want to happen if you’re looking for a quick recovery. Subacromial decompression is done as a day case, which means that those who undergo the surgery will not be required to stay in the hospital overnight.
Subacromial decompression is usually done under the comfort of general anaesthesia, so you will be asleep during the entire surgical procedure. In some cases, however, some doctors will recommend employing the surgery under regional or local anaesthesia. What this does is block sensation around your shoulder area, completely numbing the pain but keeping you awake the entire time. You might also be given a mild sedative to help keep you relaxed throughout the operation. Before surgery is done, the surgeon will discuss the many anaesthesia options with you. In most cases, patients have a choice in which anaesthesia options to choose.
Before the operation is employed, a nurse will check your urine, check your blood pressure as well as your heart rate. As with many other surgical procedures, subacromial decompression requires the patient to sign a consent form. The consent form confirms that you understand the benefits, risks, and other treatment alternatives to the procedure. Signing the consent form means you are giving the surgeon the permission to go ahead with the operation.
How is Subacromial Decompression Employed?
Subacromial decompression is a relatively simple operation taking about one and a half hours, but the span of time depends on how severe or complicated your case is. After the anaesthesia has fully taken effect, a small cut about 5mm long will be made on the skin around the area that will be treated. A sterile type of fluid will be placed on the joint so a clearer picture can be made. The arthroscope will then be inserted via one of the cuts that are made in the joint. After the arthroscope has been inserted, the surgeon will look into the joint via the images on the monitor or through the arthroscope. A variety of special instruments will then be placed into the cut to shape the shoulder blade to prevent it from rubbing against the humerus. During this procedure, the doctor may also opt to repair damaged tendons in the area, such as those of the rotator cuff tendon. When the surgeon realizes the need for this, he or she will switch from the less invasive surgery to the more invasive open operation surgery, a process that is done through a larger cut.
After the surgery procedures are done, the fluid that was first inserted into the joint will be drained out and the incisions will be closed using stitches.
What to Expect After Subacromial Decompression
After the operation, the patient will be required to rest until the sedating effects of the general anaesthetics have passed. General anaesthesia will affect your reasoning skills, coordination, and movement, so it is highly advised that you do not drive, drink, or sign legal documents for a minimum of 48 hours. If your surgery has been done through regional or local anaesthetic, the area will feel numb for several hours after the operation. Be very careful not to knock the area or bump it, lest complications arise. You might be giving a sling over your affected arm to restrict movement.
Before you are allowed to go home, the surgeon will tell you all about the outcome of the operation. A physiotherapist will visit you to aid in moving your joints and will tell you about how to exercise the affected area at home to stimulate movement. If you drove your way to the hospital, you need to arrange someone to safely drive you home.
Let’s prepare yourself for Subacromial Decompression.
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