Frozen Shoulder Surgery
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a disorder characterized by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. It affects about two percent of the general population. It is more common in women between the ages of 40 years to 70 years old. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. The process involves thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. A doctor can diagnose frozen shoulder based on the history of the patient’s symptoms and physical examination. X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies are sometimes used to rule out other causes of shoulder stiffness and pain, such as rotator cuff tear.
Both conservative and surgical treatment may result in equal outcome two to three years from the onset. However, this is at the expense of pain, stiffness and disability for this length of time. Surgical treatment with manipulation under anaesthetic or arthroscopic release shortens this to several weeks.
An operation is sometimes considered if other treatments do not help. Techniques that are used include:
Manipulation. This is a procedure where the shoulder is moved around by the surgeon while you are under anaesthetic.
Arthroscopic capsular release. This is a relatively small operation done as ‘keyhole’ surgery. It is often done as a day-case procedure. In this procedure, the tight capsule of the joint is released with a special probe.
Although surgery has a good rate of success it does not help in all cases.