Capsular release of the shoulder

Arthroscopic capsular release

A type of keyhole surgery for frozen shoulder problems which aims to release the stiffness caused by frozen shoulder

What is a capsular release?

Capsular release of the shoulder is a type of minimally invasive surgery which can help to relieve pain and severe stiffness caused by a condition called frozen shoulder. This condition is when the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint (the capsule) becomes inflamed and thickened.

Need to know

  • What happens during capsular release surgery? icon plus

    This operation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep. You will lie on your side while the procedure is done. Your consultant will make three or four small cuts in your shoulder. They will insert an arthroscope — a small telescope with a light and camera — into one of the cuts so they can see inside your shoulder. A special probe is inserted through the other cuts in your shoulder. This is used to release the tightness in your shoulder by dividing or cutting out the thickened parts of the shoulder capsule. Your surgeon will then close the cuts in your shoulder using stitches.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    As with all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and let you know what's involved in the operation. If you're having a general anaesthetic, your consultant will let you know how long to avoid eating and drinking beforehand.
  • After capsular release surgery icon plus

    You will be cared for in hospital following your operation. You will be given painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication if you need them. You may also be given a local anaesthetic during the operation to help with pain relief once the procedure is over.

    A member of our physiotherapy team will give you advice and exercises to help your shoulder to recover before you are discharged. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including going back to work and exercise.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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