Skip to Content

Arthroscopic Acromioplasty


  • Arthroscopic acromioplasty is surgery that is done to smooth out the acromion bone. The acromion is a long, oval bone. It is found where your shoulder blade meets your collar bone. The shoulder joint (where the bones of your shoulder meet) is held in place by the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons (tough tissues that join muscle to bone). Some of these muscles and tendons lie under the acromion. If these tendons are injured or torn, they may swell and the acromion may squeeze them. This can cause pain and problems moving your arm.
    Shoulder- Front View
  • Arthroscopic acromioplasty uses a scope (thin tube with a camera at the end) to see inside your shoulder. Other instruments are put in through small holes to fix your shoulder. During this surgery, the acromion is reshaped so that it does not press on your tendons. Acromioplasty can be part of the treatment for rotator cuff injuries and tears. Ask your caregiver for more information about rotator cuff injuries and their treatments. Arthroscopic acromioplasty may relieve your pain and improve your shoulder movement and strength.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ice your shoulder:

Place ice on your shoulder for one week, or as long as your caregiver tells you to. A cold pack or ice pack may decrease pain and swelling. Ask your caregiver how often, and how long to place an ice or cold pack on your shoulder.


You may need to use a sling to hold your arm still and support it. If you need an abduction immobilizer sling, the pillow attached to the sling holds your arm away from your body. This position decreases pressure on the surgery area and increases blood flow to help it heal. If you need to use a sling, ask caregivers when and how long you need to use it.

Starting physical therapy:

Physical therapy will begin soon after your surgery. A caregiver will help you do exercises, and show you exercises to do at home. You will begin with exercises that will not damage your shoulder as it is healing. Your caregiver may suggest therapy in a pool. The water allows you to move your arm with very little stress on your shoulder. Over time, you will begin exercises such as lifting your arm overhead. Stop doing exercises that cause pain, stiffness or swelling in your shoulder, and call your caregiver.

Returning to work:

Ask your caregiver when you can return to work.

Stop smoking:

Smoking can slow down healing after surgery. Ask your caregiver for information on how to stop smoking.

Caring for your wound:

Keep the surgery area clean and dry. You may need to cover your wound with waterproof plastic wrap to shower and bathe. Ask your caregiver when to change your bandages, and when to return to have your stitches removed.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain in your shoulder that is worse than before surgery, or does not go away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery or medicine.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.


  • Your stitches come apart.
  • Your surgery area is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.