Release of Adhesions Surgery

Release of adhesions surgery is a type of shoulder surgery performed to release contractures and improve function in stiff shoulders resulting from frozen shoulder syndrome. Frozen shoulder occurs when the strong connective tissue (capsule) surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and becomes too tight. These thick, stiff bands of tissue are called adhesions. At the same time, the synovial fluid which keeps the joint lubricated during movement begins to dissipate. Pain and lack of motion in the shoulder are the most prominent symptoms of frozen shoulder. Release of adhesions will improve the painful symptoms of frozen shoulder.

Types of Surgery for the Release of Adhesions
There are two types of surgery for the release of adhesions in the shoulder:

  • Shoulder manipulation – Shoulder manipulation is a non-invasive procedure but could be very painful for the patient if they were awake during the process. After the patient is put to sleep with local anesthesia, the doctor or surgeon will forcibly move the shoulder in its normal range of motion. This forced movement causes the shoulder capsule and scar tissue to stretch or tear. The manipulation will decrease the stiffness and increase the range of motion in your shoulder.

    In most cases anti-inflammatory medication and a local anesthetic are injected into the shoulder once the shoulder manipulation is complete. Physical therapy is continued after the treatment in order to help the patient maintain mobility in the shoulder. Most patients will experience a dramatic increase of motion from this procedure as well as a partial or total reduction of pain.
  • Shoulder arthroscopy – During this procedure, the surgeon uses an arthroscope to help inspect the inside of the shoulder joint for damage. An arthroscope is a small tube, thinner than a pencil, with a system of lenses, a light and a small video camera. The camera sends real-time images to a video monitor next to the operating table, thus allowing the surgeon to see more detail than is seen with a larger incision (open surgery) and the naked eye.

    During the arthroscopic release of adhesions procedure, the arthroscope is inserted into the shoulder joint to inspect the extent of damage to the capsule. Once the adhesions are located, the surgeon will cut through the tight portions of the joint capsule. Shoulder manipulation is often combined with shoulder arthroscopy in order to obtain maximum results from the release of adhesions.

The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Shoulder & Elbow Services in New York performs Release of Adhesions Surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the foot and ankle.

Rehabilitation Services
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.

    Back to Top