The results of an important surgical trial led by Professor Andrew Carr and Professor David Beard have just been published in The Lancet. This study has been conducted by the CSAW study group and SITU with the support of The British Elbow and Shoulder Society (BESS).
The study aimed to evaluate a common shoulder operation performed in the UK, arthroscopic subacromial decompression, which has been increasingly undertaken for a specific type of shoulder pain and disability because of its perceived benefits. The surgery involves removing a spur of bone and associated soft tissue with the aim of preventing rubbing, or impingement, of shoulder tissues during arm movement. The effectiveness of the operation has remained somewhat uncertain and it has never been critically evaluated in a full randomised controlled trial.