Are you considering “decompression shoulder surgery” (also known as subacromial decompression) for rotator cuff impingement?
A new study published in the Jan. 15, 2019 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that “subacromial decompression surgery provided no important benefit compared with placebo surgery or exercise therapy, and probably carries a small risk of serious harms.”
Surgeons have hypothesized that shoulder impingement arises due the rotator cuff tendons getting pinched between the ball of the shoulder and the overhanging portion the shoulder blade (the acromion).
This mechanistic hypothesis has driven the use of subacromial decompression surgery—removal of the subacromial bursa and some bone from the acromion to prevent impingement on the rotator cuff tendons.
But the new British study calls into question the wisdom and benefits of surgery.
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