Key Points about Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty)

  • Arthroscopic shoulder surgery, also known as acromioplasty, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed to relieve pain associated with friction around the acromion bone in the shoulder.
  • You may be a candidate for arthroscopic shoulder surgery if you have a rotator cuff injury, shoulder instability, or shoulder impingement.
  • Complications associated with arthroscopic shoulder surgery include excessive bleeding, infection, nerve injury, joint stiffness, and pain after surgery.
  • Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is an outpatient procedure so that you will go home the day of the procedure. It may take six weeks or more to recover.


Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is an orthopedic procedure that examines and repairs tissues around the shoulder joint. 

Arthroscopic surgery uses smaller incisions that speed healing and lead to fewer complications.

Most patients can resume their activities within six weeks of surgery.

Who is a candidate for Shoulder Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty)?

You may be a candidate for arthroscopic shoulder surgery if you experience pain, swelling, tenderness, loss of strength in your shoulder, or compromised shoulder motion due to overuse or constant strain on the acromion bone.

Conditions that cause these symptoms include:

  • Rotator cuff issues
  • Shoulder instability
  • Shoulder impingement

Risks associated with Shoulder Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty)

While most people who have arthroscopic shoulder surgery fully recover, complications can arise. 

Complications associated with acromioplasty include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain after surgery

Preparation for Shoulder Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty)

In preparation for surgery, your doctor will review guidelines of what to expect before, during, and after surgery, including:

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before surgery.

Bring an oversized, button-up shirt to wear after surgery, so you do not have to pull a shirt over your head.

You will be given a general or regional anesthesia medication, so you do not feel the surgery.

What to Expect During Shoulder Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty)?

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. Your orthopedic surgeon will cut a small incision in your shoulder to insert the arthroscope into the affected area. Your care team will carefully evaluate the damage in your shoulder on a nearby computer screen for visualization. 

To repair the damage in the shoulder, your orthopedic surgeon will make two to three additional small incisions. Your doctor will customize the surgery based on the repairs depending on your condition. For example, if you have a rotator cuff injury, your doctor will repair tears and tendons and shave down any extra bone growth. If you have shoulder instability, your doctor will repair the rim of the shoulder joint, and if you have shoulder impingement, your doctor will clean out the damaged or inflamed tissue and shave down the area of bone growth.

When the area has been repaired, your surgeon will close the incision with stitches. You will then be moved to a recovery area.

Duration of Shoulder Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Acromioplasty) Recovery

The surgery lasts approximately one hour, and you will likely go home after the procedure.

Most patients recover from minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgery within six weeks after the procedure. 

While you will need to rest the shoulders for a few days after surgery, you will need to start physical therapy as soon as possible. Physical therapy can help you recover quicker, help you regain your shoulder strength, and decrease your risk of complications.

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