Treatment Orthopedics

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Nonsurgical Treatment

Initial treatments for SIS are nonsurgical. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy and possibly a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen. Injection of a local anesthetic and cortisone into the shoulder is also an option.

Surgical Treatment

If nonsurgical treatment does not reduce pain, there are surgical options. As with all surgeries, there are some risks and possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon will do all that is possible to minimize these risks. Operations are usually only performed if nonsurgical 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 called sub-acromial decompression. This may be performed using either arthroscopic (with small incisions and instruments) or open techniques. In the procedure, the surgeon removes the portion of the acromion causing impingement along with some of the bursa. The surgeon may also treat other conditions present in the shoulder at the same time, including repairs of any rotator cuff tears.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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