A brief description of acromion-clavicular (AC) surgery

The shoulder joint, also called AC joint, is located between the acromion process and the clavicle. Patients may encounter pain during movement and a sensitivity to touch – discomfort that can be addressed by the means of arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Compared to open surgery, the arthroscopic procedure is far more gentle – especially to the tendons and the musculature, resulting in a much improved healing process.

The course of action

If the tendons of the AC joint are uninjured and the patient’s only affliction is arthritis, the surgery will take place as so:

  • The surgeon reaches the afflicted area with his instruments through small incisions (0.5 – 1 centimetres in length)
  • Impinging outgrowths of the bone and approximately 5 millimetres of the clavicle are removed with a small trephine
  • In addition to this procedure, the inflammed bursae below the acromion process are removed
  • Summarized: the distance between acromion process and collar bone is widened, resulting in the afflicted surfaces of the joint no longer rubbing against each other and therefore removing the cause of pain

Treatment: post-operative measures

To counteract possible adhesions or agglutinations, the patient is recommended to move his arm on the first day after the surgical procedure. Rehabilitation is different from patient to patient, in most cases it will last approximately two to four weeks.


Would you like to find out more about surgical shoulder arthritis treatment? Contact the joint specialist Professor Lill today. All your questions will be answered in the course of an extensive consultation.