Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. It typically develops gradually and progresses through three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing.
In most cases, frozen shoulder can be managed with conservative treatments such as physical therapy, pain medications, and corticosteroid injections. However, in some instances, surgery may be recommended if the symptoms are severe and do not improve with nonsurgical methods.
There are several surgical procedures that can be performed for frozen shoulder, depending on the specific circumstances and the surgeon’s preference. These procedures aim to release the tightness and restore movement in the shoulder joint. Here are some common surgical interventions for frozen shoulder:
- Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA): This procedure involves forcefully moving the shoulder joint while the patient is under general anesthesia. The goal is to break up scar tissue and adhesions, allowing for improved range of motion. Following MUA, physical therapy is typically prescribed to maintain and further improve shoulder mobility.
- Arthroscopic surgery: In this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon inserts a small camera called an arthroscope and small surgical instruments through tiny incisions in the shoulder. The camera provides a clear view of the joint’s internal structures, allowing the surgeon to remove scar tissue and release tight ligaments or capsules that are causing the frozen shoulder.
- Open surgery: In rare cases where arthroscopy is not feasible or effective, open surgery may be performed. It involves making a larger incision to directly access the shoulder joint. The surgeon can then remove scar tissue, release adhesions, and manipulate the joint to improve its range of motion.
Following surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy are crucial for achieving the best outcome. The specific rehabilitation program will vary depending on the surgical procedure performed and the individual patient’s needs. Physical therapy aims to regain strength, flexibility, and function in the shoulder joint.
It’s important to note that while surgery can be an effective treatment option for frozen shoulder, it is typically considered after nonsurgical measures have been exhausted. The decision to undergo surgery should be made in consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon who can evaluate your condition and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment.