Arthroscopic Capsular Release

Overview

This minimally-invasive surgery is used to help relieve pain and loss of mobility in the shoulder from adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). A radiofrequency (RF) probe is inserted into the shoulder. The probe uses RF waves to cut the tissue capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint, allowing the shoulder to move more freely.

Preparation

The patient is positioned so that the back of the shoulder is clearly visible to the surgeon, and the area is cleaned and sterilized. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the injection site and a sedative is provided to relax the patient. General anesthesia may sometimes be used.

Accessing the Shoulder

The surgeon creates two to three small incisions on the shoulder and inserts an arthroscopic camera and the RF probe. The camera allows the surgeon to view the procedure on a monitor.

Freeing the Shoulder

Once the shoulder has been evaluated, the physician uses the RF probe to cut the tissue capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. The radiofrequency waves cauterize the tissue as it cuts, so there is minimal bleeding in the joint.

End of Procedure

The incisions are closed with sutures or surgical staples and the shoulder is bandaged. Patients are given pain relievers and will be able to leave the hospital on the same day. After 1-2 weeks, physical therapy will be required to help restore full range of motion to the shoulder.

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