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Know All About Frozen Shoulder Surgery

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Know All About Frozen Shoulder Surgery

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 12/06/2022 by Dr. Lalit Modi


A frozen shoulder can be a very painful condition as it causes immobility to the shoulder joint. This is also known as adhesive capsulitis in medical terminology. Inflammation and scarring of the capsule around the shoulder joint can cause a frozen shoulder. It is one of many ailments that makes an individual suffer from reasonable to extreme pain.

This condition is usually found in women who are of postmenopausal age but can occur in both men and women above 40 years of age. Other health conditions can also become a factor leading to the development of frozen shoulders. One common health concern that leads to this condition is diabetes. It can also develop as a result of injuries, after surgery, or as a result of bed rest due to a serious illness.

Common signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder

The frozen shoulder symptom varies from person to person. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Intense pain in the deltoid region
  • Pain may radiate down the arm
  • Pain is worse when it’s in shoulder motion
  • Pain is better with rest
  • Pain is worse during the night and often disturbs sleep
  • Upper back and neck pain

Frozen shoulder stages

Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis) develops in three stages:

  • The first stage is the freezing stage in which pain and stiffness occur at the same time and the pain keeps on rising every day. The shoulder joint becomes totally immobile and causes severe pain when moved. This condition normally lasts for 6 weeks to nine months in healthy people but can get prolonged in the case of the elderly or people with weak health.
  • The second stage is frozen which may last for 4-6 months in which pain gets reduced but the stiffness remains and the daily routine gets affected severely.
  • In thawing, stage pain reduces gradually and movement also starts to appear again, this stage may last for 6 months to 2 years. 

Frozen shoulder diagnosis

It is very important to get a proper diagnosis of frozen shoulders. Any injury to the shoulder and arthritis can also have frozen shoulder symptoms. Consulting your orthopaedic doctor is the first step to getting the right diagnosis. The orthopaedic doctor will begin by manipulating the affected shoulder. The doctor will order an X-ray for the right diagnosis. Then if the X-ray is also not clear, an MRI may be done. This is usually done by injecting dye into the affected shoulder to see exactly where the problem exists.

Is surgery a successful treatment for frozen shoulders?

Frozen shoulder surgery is identified to be a successful treatment option for more than 80% of patients. It is important to follow recovery instructions for successful rehabilitation. It includes:

  • Rest and icing
  • Taking the medication on time
  • Active participation in therapies
  • Managing all outpatient appointments
  • Wear a sling if recommended
  • Restrict your activity if your doctor has suggested it.

How does frozen shoulder surgery work?

The primary objective of frozen shoulder surgery also known as arthroscopy is expanding the movement range of the shoulder. Surgery is done majorly to reduce the impact of pain; an individual is experiencing. The treatment is designed with the motive of speeding up the thawing phase. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery performed by a keyhole method through two or three incisions with the use of arthroscopy.

The surgeon also involves the use of a camera to get the shoulder images on the screen. Once it is done, the doctor will then release the inflamed capsule through another incision. You might be given a steroid injection as part of the process and finally, the surgeon will close the wound with stitches.

Is frozen shoulder surgery painful?

The doctor usually gives local anaesthesia before performing the surgery and initially, the arm is numb. However, the effect wears off within a day after the operation. So, it is natural to experience some pain post-operation. Painkillers are given to reduce the pain.

Are there any complications of frozen shoulder surgery?

Frozen shoulder surgery is known to be a safer procedure generally than any other procedure. Before recommending the surgery, the doctor will consider all pros and cons of a frozen shoulder depending on an individual’s symptoms. Although, there are some common complications associated with frozen shoulder surgery such as nerve injury, blood pressure, muscle failure, stiffness, pain, blood clots, breathing issues, heart issues, and bleeding problems. It is important to get in touch with the doctor if any of these complications are experienced by any patient so that the doctor can suggest ways to avert the issues.

What are the consequences if the frozen shoulder is left untreated?

The condition will get worse with time if left untreated and might result in stiffness, pain, and restricted motion. It can also become complex for doctors to treat the problem surgically and non-surgically. So, it is important for you to consult the orthopaedic doctor if you believe that there are signs of a frozen shoulder.

Final words

If you experience excruciating pain in your shoulder often, chances are it is an indication of a frozen shoulder. The shoulder pain can be very disturbing and hard to bear as it interrupts your daily life as well. Getting in touch with an orthopaedic doctor on time can assist you with the right treatment. Your doctor might recommend frozen shoulder surgery once it is diagnosed. Post-operation, you must ensure following all instructions given by your doctor for successful recovery.