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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1990 Sep;72(8):1198-207.

Arthroscopic acromioplasty. Technique and results.

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  • 1Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, N.Y. 10021.


Of forty-four patients who were treated by arthroscopic acromioplasty from July 1984 through August 1986, forty were available for analysis. The average age was 43.2 years, and 86 per cent of them had participated regularly in sports but were disabled due to symptoms of impingement. All patients had had a minimum of six months of non-operative therapy. The final diagnoses, which were based on the findings at arthroscopy and on clinical examination, plain radiographs, and arthrograms, were Stage-II impingement in twenty-four patients, a partial-thickness tear of the rotator cuff in six, and a full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff in ten. The shoulders were scored before the operation and again at follow-up. Preoperatively, thirty-six shoulders were rated as poor and four, as fair. After a minimum follow-up of twelve months (average, seventeen months), the scores had increased in all but one patient. The result was rated good or excellent in twenty-nine (73 per cent) of the forty patients: twenty of the twenty-four who had Stage-II impingement, four of the six who had a partial-thickness tear, and six of the ten who had a full-thickness tear. The over-all average time to return to work was nine days, and the average time to return to sports was 2.4 months. Of the thirty-three patients who had participated in sports, twenty-five (76 per cent) had returned to sports activity at the time of the most recent follow-up. The average time until full recovery was 3.8 months. There were no complications, and, over-all, thirty-eight (92 per cent) of the forty patients were satisfied with the result. In four patients, the result was a failure, and three of the four had a reoperation that relieved the symptoms.

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