Tests, procedures and surgery

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery

(Frozen Shoulder — Arthroscopic Surgery)

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Definition

Adhesive capsulitis is a tightening in the shoulder joint. It decreases the range of motion in the shoulder and causes pain. This condition is also known as frozen shoulder. It is caused by tightening of the soft tissue and formation of scar tissue.

During this arthroscopic surgery, the doctor cuts and removes scar tissue around the shoulder. The goal of the procedure is to improve range-of-motion by breaking up scar tissue

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done to:

  • Relieve pain
  • Restore range of motion in the shoulder joint
  • Break up scar tissue

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have arthroscopic shoulder surgery, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Nerve injury
  • Damage to soft tissue
  • Instability or stiffness in joint
  • Fracture
  • Reaction to anesthesia used

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Recent or chronic illness
  • Certain medicines — especially those that increase bleeding (eg, aspirin)
  • Smoking or alcohol use
  • Previous shoulder surgery (may cause damage)

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • X-ray — a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
  • MRI scan — a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)

Leading up to the procedure:

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital. Also, arrange for help at home after the surgery.
  • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. If you have diabetes, you may need to adjust your medicines. Talk to your doctor about this.
  • If told to do so by your doctor, on the day of the surgery, shower using a special antibacterial soap. Do not use deodorant.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Anesthesia

General anesthesia is often used for this surgery. You will be asleep.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Description of the Procedure

Three small incisions will be made in your shoulder. A special tool called an arthroscope will be inserted. An arthroscope is a flexible tube with a light at the end and a camera attached. This will allow the doctor to view the inside of the shoulder on a screen. Tiny instruments will be inserted into the other incisions. The doctor will then cut and remove scar tissue. The incisions will be closed with stitches.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Immediately After Procedure

You will be taken to a recovery room after surgery. You will be monitored for any adverse reactions to surgery or anesthesia.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – How Long Will It Take

About 1-½ to 2 hours

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will block pain during the procedure. In some cases, the doctor implants a pain pump into the shoulder. This pump slowly delivers pain medicine. It may be used for the first couple of days and then removed. Afterwards, you will have medicine to help manage the pain.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Average Hospital Stay

If there are no complications, it may be possible to leave the hospital on the same day. Talk to your doctor to see if this is an option in your case.

Post-procedure Care

Your shoulder will be sore for a few weeks. It can take 3-6 months to fully recover.

When you return home, you may be asked to do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Ice the swollen area for the first 24-48 hours. Do this for 20-30 minutes at a time.
  • Sleep sitting up or in a recliner. Place a pillow behind your elbow.
  • Change the dressing.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Take pain medicine. If you have a pain pump, this will be removed in 1-2 days.
  • Return to the doctor in 7-14 days to have your stitches removed.
  • Resume your regular diet when you are ready. You may need to start with a clear liquid diet.
  • Use a sling if told to do so by your doctor. You may not need to use one, because it can cause stiffness.
  • Work with a physical therapist at home to focus on range-of-motion exercises.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Adhesive capsulitis – arthroscopic surgery – Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infections, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision sites
  • Cough, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Pain becomes worse or swelling increases
  • Tingling or numbness that will not go away, especially in arms and hands

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

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