Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

Arthroscopic capsular release for idiopathic frozen shoulder with intra-articular injection and a controlled manipulation.

PMID 24417832


The aim of this prospective study was to assess the immediate and long-term effectiveness of arthroscopic capsular release in a large cohort of patients with a precise and isolated diagnosis of stage II idiopathic frozen shoulder. All patients underwent a preoperative evaluation. Patients with secondary frozen shoulder and those with concurrent pathology at arthroscopy were excluded. This left 136 patients with a stage II arthroscopically confirmed idiopathic frozen shoulder. At each postoperative attendance, a record was made of pain, function and range of motion. At 12 months, the Oxford shoulder score was calculated, and pain and range of motion were assessed. Fifty per cent achieved good pain relief within a week and eighty per cent within six weeks of arthroscopic capsular release. The mean preoperative visual analogue scale pain score was 6.6 and the mean postoperative score was 1.0. The mean time to achieving good pain relief was 16 days following surgery. No patient could sleep through the night prior to surgery while 90% reported having a complete night's sleep at a mean of 12 days after surgery. The mean postoperative Oxford shoulder score was 38/48 and the mean improvement was 19.2. This large series demonstrates that arthroscopic capsular release is a safe procedure, with rapid improvement in pain and a marked improvement in range of motion.