Arthroscopic Capsular Release
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique used in the treatment of sports injuries. It involves the use of a fiber-optic camera, which we place into a joint through a small incision in order to visualize ligaments, cartilage, and soft tissue. Through another small incision, we can then use small instruments to remove or repair broken or damaged tissue.

Shoulder arthroscopy with synovectomy is surgery for patients with adhesive capsulitis that has been unresolved with physical therapy, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), or steroid injections. This procedure will improve range of motions and decrease pain.

In order to resolve the stiffness associated with adhesive capsulitis, capsular release (cutting of the tissue that encompasses the joint) is performed to break up the inflamed scar tissue in the shoulder and allow the shoulder to move more freely. Depending on how stiff the shoulder is prior to surgery, a manipulation of the shoulder may be performed, which involves moving the shoulder around through all ranges of motion to help alleviate the stiffness in the shoulder.

Day of surgery: Arrive one to two hours prior to surgery. Procedure will take approximately one hour, and recovery time is one hour. For immediate post-op instructions, download the instruction sheet.

Additional immediate postoperative care: You may be given a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine to ensure early range of motion. You will see your physical therapist on the day of your surgery or the next day to work on range of motion of your shoulder.

One week post-op: First follow-up visit with Dr. Snibbe/Jennifer. Stitches will be taken out, and you’ll get to see your pictures from the surgery. Continue icing two to three times a day (or more if needed). Discontinue sling as soon as possible to avoid recurring stiffness. Physical therapy will be prescribed. Start physical therapy immediately to work on range of motion.

Four weeks post-op: Second follow-up visit. Range of motion and strength test. Physical therapy will continue to improve range of motion. Mild stiffness is still common. Discomfort at night and with certain motions is common at this stage of the rehab process

Eight weeks post-op: Third follow-up visit. Range of motion and strength testing. If additional range of motion or strength training needed, continue physical therapy to work on rotator cuff strengthening. Pain should be mostly resolved at this point.

Twelve weeks post-op: Fourth follow-up visit. Range of motion should be full/normal. You should feel stronger and have very little pain, if any. Near to full recovery is expected at this time.

Download the postoperative instructions for your procedure (PDF) Download

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