JOURNAL ARTICLE
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An arthroscopic technique for treating patients with frozen shoulder.

Forty-three patients with a diagnosis of primary or secondary frozen shoulder who had symptoms for an average of 12 months and failed conservative treatment of at least 12 weeks of physical therapy, were treated with an arthrosopic capsular release. On completion of standard shoulder arthroscopy, intra-articular cautery was used to completely divide the anterior-inferior capsule, the intra-articular portion of the subscapularis tendon, and the middle glenohumeral, the superior glenohumeral, and the coracohumeral ligaments. The subacromial space was inspected in all patients. Eighteen patients had extensive subacromial fibrosis that required debridement. Subacromial decompression was reserved for patients with evidence of an acromial spur seen at the time of arthroscopy. Postoperatively, all patients showed substantial gains in shoulder range of motion, as well as diminished shoulder pain. Thirty-five patients completed a telephone survey at an average of 22 months after surgery. The average modified shoulder score was 19 (scale, 13 to 65), with 83% of patients indicating that their shoulder was normal or caused only mild symptoms. In conclusion, the authors believe that arthroscopic capsular release is an effective and safe alternative to manipulation in patients with a recalcitrant frozen shoulder.

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