Symptomatic (Stage II) impingement of the rotator cuff against the coracoacromial arch has been treated with anterior acromioplasty in 60 shoulders in 56 patients. Patient selection is crucial. Arthrography of the shoulder was routinely included in the preoperative diagnostic tools to rule out a tear of the rotator cuff. Since acromial shape may play a role producing a resistant impingement syndrome, special attention should be paid to patients with Type III of acromial inclination. The surgical procedure should include a thorough examination of the subacromial space as a whole, taking notice of all pathologic findings in the subacromial arch as well as in the underlying soft tissues. Restoring subacromial clearance, the patients were relieved of their symptoms. The result, rated according to the functional assessment of Neer, was excellent or satisfactory in 73%. Failure to recognize the associated bony as well as soft-tissue subacromial lesions was, however, a frequent cause of failure of surgical decompression operations.
* From the Division of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Surgical Hospital, University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
** From the Orthopaedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation, Helsinki, Finland.
Reprint requests to Jan-Magnus Bjorkenheim, M.D., Surgical Hospital, Kasarmikatu 11–13, 00130 Helsinki, Finland.
Supported by the Sigrid Juselius Foundation and Finska Läkaresällskapet.
Received: June 10, 1988.