Arthroscopic capsular release overview

Arthroscopic capsular release is a minimally-invasive shoulder surgery 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 for the arthroscopic shoulder surgery

The patient is positioned so that the back of the shoulder is clearly visible to the shoulder 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 three small incisions on the shoulder and inserts an arthroscopic camera and the RF probe. The camera allows the surgeon to view the shoulder surgery on a monitor.

Freeing the shoulder

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

End of the procedure

The incisions from the arthroscopic capsular release 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 one to two weeks, physical therapy will be required to help restore full range of motion to the shoulder.