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Frozen shoulder: a consensus definition.

INTRODUCTION: Frozen shoulder (FS) is a common diagnosis treated by orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians caring for musculoskeletal problems. However, there is no standard definition and classification for this common condition.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We asked 211 clinician members of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons to review our proposed definition of FS and its classification into primary and secondary types. Secondary FS was further divided into intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic types. The survey required responses to 5 specific questions via an analog scale (1, strongly disagree; 5, strongly agree). Agreement was defined as a 4 or 5 on the analog scale.

RESULTS: We received 190 responses (90%). Eighty-two percent agreed with the proposed definition of FS. Eighty-five percent agreed that FS should be divided into primary and secondary types. Sixty-six percent agreed with subdivision of secondary FS into intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic types. Eighty-four percent agreed that there was a clinical entity of primary or idiopathic FS. Eighty-five percent agreed that obtaining a consensus definition and classification of FS was a worthwhile endeavor.

DISCUSSION: Significant benefits can be gained from the development of a standard definition and classification of FS, achieved through a consensus of shoulder specialists, that provides a strong foundation for potential acceptance by all musculoskeletal specialists who treat this condition.

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