Shoulder Surgery: Arthoscopic Capsular Release

Indications for operation

Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

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General Anaesthetic with an interscalene block (Fully asleep with a local anaesthetic injection into the side of the neck will numb the nerves to the shoulder for post-operative pain relief)

Operation type



Figure 1
Subacromial incisions

2 ½ cm incisions will be made in the shoulder, one to the back, one at the side and one at the front of the shoulder.


The gleno-humeral (shoulder) joint will be inspected first. The capsule (lining of the joint) will be released to allow the full range of motion to be regained.

A small tube (catheter) will be inserted into the joint at the end of the procedure. This is connected to a pump which will place local anaesthetic into the joint for 48 hours afterwards.

Wound Closure

Small butterfly paper stitches will be used to close the wounds.


Elastoplast dressings will be placed over the top of the paper stitches and an adhesive bandage over the top of this.

Immediate aftercare

A sling will be placed on the arm and it may feel numb for the rest of the day. You can go home when you feel comfortable and will be given instructions on what to do next.

It is important that physiotherapy is started very soon after the surgery to enable the full benefit to be obtained.

The small catheter can be pulled out after 48 hours and discarded.