A capsular release of the shoulder is surgery performed to release a tight and stiff shoulder joint., Stiffness of the shoulder joint is most commonly the result of a condition called frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. It can also follow shoulder trauma or be a complication of surgery to the shoulder. The procedure is usually performed arthroscopically through keyhole-size incisions.

When is Capsular Release Indicated?

Capsular release of the shoulder may be indicated when non-invasive and conservative approaches fail to mitigate symptoms of frozen shoulder such as pain and stiffness, or when non-operative attempts to improve range of motion in the shoulder after trauma or surgery have failed to progress.

What Happens During Capsular Release of the Shoulder?

Capsular release of the shoulder can be performed endoscopically or through open surgery; however, arthroscopic capsular release is the most common technique employed.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and an arm block while you are seated in a beach-chair position. After adequately sterilizing the surgical area, a few keyhole-size incisions will be made through which the arthroscope and tiny cutting instruments are inserted. Your surgeon will look inside your shoulder and surgically release the scarred and tight shoulder capsule preventing free shoulder movement. Your surgeon will then gently stretch your shoulder joint through its full range of motion breaking any adhesions that are still tight. The instruments are then removed and the incisions closed.

What are the Advantages of Arthroscopic Capsular Release?

  • Results in a controlled and precise release of the ligaments and capsule
  • Bleeding and additional soft-tissue trauma to the joint is minimal
  • Formation of adhesions that can interfere with shoulder movement are minimised
  • Labral or rotator cuff injuries and bone fractures that may occur as the result of aggressive manipulations are avoided
  • Immediate post-operative range of motion exercises can be utilized

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