Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We assessed the predictive value of the macroscopic and detailed microscopic appearance of the coracoacromial ligament, subacromial bursa and rotator-cuff tendon in 20 patients undergoing subacromial decompression for impingement in the absence of full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff. Histologically, all specimens had features of degenerative change and oedema in the extracellular matrix. Inflammatory cells were seen, but there was no evidence of chronic inflammation. However, the outcome was not related to cell counts. At three months the mean Oxford shoulder score had improved from 29.2 (20 to 40) to 39.4 (28 to 48) (p < 0.0001) and at six months to 45.5 (36 to 48) (p < 0.0001). At six months, although all patients had improved, the seven patients with a hooked acromion had done so to a less extent than those with a flat or curved acromion judged by their mean Oxford shoulder scores of 43.5 and 46.5 respectively (p = 0.046). All five patients with partial-thickness tears were within this group and demonstrated less improvement than the patients with no tear (mean Oxford shoulder scores 43.2 and 46.4, respectively, p = 0.04). These findings imply that in the presence of a partial-thickness tear subacromial decompression may require additional specific treatment to the rotator cuff if the outcome is to be improved further.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bone Joint Surg Br

Publication Date





119 - 123


Acromioclavicular Joint, Acromion, Adult, Aged, Bursa, Synovial, Decompression, Surgical, Female, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Middle Aged, Pain Measurement, Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, Treatment Outcome