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Adhesive Capsulitis—Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Adhesive Capsulitis—Arthroscopic Surgery

(Frozen Shoulder—Arthroscopic Surgery)


Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) is a tightening of the tissue around the shoulder joint. It makes it hard to move the shoulder. This surgery improves range of motion by removing scar tissue.

Frozen Shoulder.

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Reasons for Procedure

This procedure is done to:

  • Ease pain
  • Improve range of motion in the shoulder
  • Break up scar tissue

Possible Complications

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infections, such as fever and chills
  • Increasing redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the wound
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Tingling or numbness that will not go away, especially in the arms and hands
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injury
  • Damage to soft tissue
  • Instability or stiffness in the joint
  • Fracture

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity
  • Prior shoulder surgery




  • Adhesive capsulitis of shoulder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/adhesive-capsulitis-of-shoulder.
  • Frozen shoulder. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/frozen-shoulder.
  • Le HV, Lee SJ, et al. Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: review of pathophysiology and current clinical treatments. Shoulder Elbow. 2017 Apr;9(2):75-84.
  • Shoulder arthroscopy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/shoulder-arthroscopy.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.