Subacromial decompression can take around an hour, depending on how complicated your operation is. The operation is usually done as a keyhole procedure using a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera called an arthroscope.
Subacromial decompression is usually done under general anaesthesia, which means that you’ll be asleep during the procedure. You may also be given a local (regional) anaesthetic into the nerves around your shoulder. This helps to reduce any pain you may feel after your operation. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon will make small cuts in the skin around your shoulder. Usually there will be three small cuts, but sometimes more are needed.
Your surgeon will look into the area called the subacromial space within your shoulder. This will be either directly through the arthroscope, or at pictures sent from the arthroscope to a monitor. They’ll insert specially designed surgical instruments through the small cuts and reshape this part of your shoulder blade. Your surgeon may also decide to repair any damaged tendons at the same time. This may mean your surgeon has to change from keyhole surgery to an open operation and will make a larger cut in your shoulder.
You’ll need to be patient, as it usually takes between two and four months to make a full recovery from subacromial decompression, sometimes longer. But the operation is successful in between eight and nine out of 10 people.
If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.
You may see a physiotherapist (a health professional who specialises in maintaining and improving movement and mobility) after your operation. It’s really important that you do any exercises that your physiotherapist or surgeon recommends. These may help you to recover more quickly. Your surgeon or physiotherapist will tell you when to start these exercises, and how many to do.
I have already started doing physiotherapy exercises, a therapist came to see me before I went to theatre and gave me some work sheets to use after. She is called Charlotte and she is who I will be doing my physio sessions with starting on 25th July.
I have an appointment to go back to see Mr Foggerty the surgeon on 22nd August at 16:40 another brilliant time to travel to Huddersfield.
The worst part of the hospital visit was the waiting. I had a letter telling me to be there at 12 noon. We arrived at the hospital about ten minutes early, the lady on reception asked us to take a seat and wait, some one one be with us soon. After only a few minutes a nurse came and called my name. Tony and I followed her along with the three other people who had been called. We had to climb up the stairs, so it took me a while . Just as we reached the top of the stairs another nurse was calling my name. She took us to a room where she asked me to put on a gown (you know the ones I mean, the sexy open backed ones). After the nurse had finished all the usual checks and brought me a pair of sexy stockings to go with the gown, I thought this looks good I might be going down soon. 5 hours later I was still waiting. Tony went to see if he could find out what was happening. A nurse came to tell me I was next on the list but she could not say how long that would be.
I cannot remember what time the operation finally took place, but it was about 9:30pm when we arrived home. I was glad to be home and I just wanted to go and lay down. I have slept in the chair since the op as I am scared of banging my shoulder, or turning over onto it, or Tony bumping it. I am feeling less pain and more movement in my arm every day, so hopefully the op has worked.
Now time for something a bit more light hearted.
A few days ago in the garden I took a photo of a butterfly.
The Red Admiral was sunbathing on the wall, it was not bothered by me or the camera. I was able to take a few snaps of it before it flew away over the wall into the apple tree in a neighbours garden.