If nonsurgical treatment does not reduce pain, there are surgical options. As with all surgeries, there are some risks and possible complications. Your orthopaedic surgeon will do all that is possible to minimize these risks.
Operations are usually only performed if non-surgical treatment has failed. The goal of surgery is to remove the impingement on the rotator cuff and bursa by creating more space between the humeral head and the acromion. The most common surgical treatment is sub-acromial decompression. At UCSF, this is performed with arthroscopic techniques where small instruments and a camera are placed in the shoulder joint. In this procedure the portion of the acromion causing impingement is removed along with the inflamed bursa. The surgeon may also treat other conditions present in the shoulder at the same time, including repairs of any rotator cuff tears.