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Arthroscopic Surgery for your Frozen Shoulder: What You Need to Know

Have you been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder? If so, you are probably wondering what are the best ways to treat it. As your doctor may have told you already, treating a frozen shoulder is usually successful through non-surgical means. However, in certain circumstances, surgery may be considered as a treatment option.

If you have been referred for surgery to treat your condition, you must understand your situation, what surgery entails, and what to expect with recovery. As an experienced surgery center in Raleigh, NC, Raleigh Orthopedic Surgery Center can help to guide you through the process.


What is a Frozen Shoulder? 

The medical term for frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. It is a painful condition that may also restrict the movement of the arm. Simple tasks such as washing the dishes or fastening a seatbelt can be difficult. 

There is no specific cause to a frozen shoulder. It is known to occur after minor surgery or a period of immobilization. There are other risk factors, including:

  • Women between the ages of 30-60
  • Individuals with diabetes
  • Conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac disease

The following are signs and symptoms of a frozen shoulder:

  • Dull, achy pain that increases with shoulder motion
  • Pain located in the shoulder or upper arm
  • Restricted movement in the shoulder or stiffness 


Why Would You Want to Treat a Frozen Shoulder Conservatively? 

Treating a frozen shoulder conservatively (without surgery) is ideal. Many patients respond well to conservative treatment options. The resolution of the condition is often seen within two years, even without treatment. 

Methods used to treat a frozen shoulder conservatively include:

  • Rehabilitation to improve motion
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injections

It is important to know treatment and rehabilitation do take time. If there is no response after 6 to 12 months, then surgery may be an option. 


What Should You Know About Surgery for a Frozen Shoulder? 

Surgery for a frozen shoulder is called arthroscopic shoulder surgery or arthroscopic capsular relief. A small camera and instruments are guided into the shoulder to assist surgeons with the repair. 

The goal is to release the tight, thickened shoulder capsule that is causing the condition. The release allows the joint to move freely. 

More critical than surgery is to ensure mobility is maintained after the procedure. A splint is sometimes helpful to keep the shoulder stretched during recovery. Often physical therapy is started soon after surgery to ensure scar tissue does not form. 


What Do You Need to Know About Recovery After Arthroscopic Surgery? 

Many people experience pain after surgery, so it is tempting to want to limit your mobility. However, doing so can sometimes lead to a recurrence of the condition, so it is essential to have a post-operative rehabilitation program in place. Splinting for stretch and physical therapy can help maintain improvements in motion. 

The most common complication is the ongoing or worsening of symptoms, even after surgery. Other risks include infection and nerve or cartilage injury.

Total recovery can take three months or longer. Therapy may need to be continued if symptoms persist. Completing exercises at home and following post-operative instructions increases the chances of good outcomes.. 


orthopedic surgery center in raleigh

Where Can I Receive More Information About Arthroscopic Surgery For a Frozen Shoulder? 

Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is both the largest and most modern ambulatory surgery facility in Eastern North Carolina to specialize exclusively in orthopaedics. Our patients receive outstanding patient satisfaction, superior clinical outcomes and reduced costs. Call Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center at 919-719-3070 for more information.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.