Frozen Shoulder

Often the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not known. It is most commonly associated with diabetes and a few other endocrine diseases.

Frozen shoulder symptoms are variable and may start with:

  • Severe pain in the affected shoulder and
  • Gradual loss of movement

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Many times patients will describe their shoulder as becoming increasingly stiff and painful over a period of time.

Typically the course of frozen shoulder occurs in three different phases that last of about a year. Rarely can it last up to 3 years.

Stage one: “Freezing” stage: In this stage the patient develops a slow onset of pain. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses motion.

Stage two: The “frozen” stage is marked by a slow improvement in pain, but the stiffness remains.

Stage three: The final stage is the “thawing”, during which shoulder motion slowly returns to normal.

Treatment Options

When conservative treatments do not work, the your surgeon may ask you to undergo Surgical Intervention.


Surgery for frozen shoulder involves cutting the tight ligaments & capsule and remove the scar tissue from the affected shoulder. In an arthroscopic procedure, two or three small incisions are made. Each incision is called a portal.

In one portal, the arthroscope is inserted to view the shoulder joint.Along with the arthroscope, a sterile solution is pumped to the joint which expands the shoulder joint, giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work.

With the images from the arthroscope as a guide, the surgeon can look for any pathology or anomaly.

The large image on the television screen allows the surgeon to see the joint directly and to determine the extent of the injuries, and then perform the particular surgical procedure, if necessary.

Special instruments are inserted in the second portal to cut the inflamed ligaments. The tight capsule is also released.

After treating the problem, the incisions (portals) are closed by suturing or by a tape and you are then taken to the recovery room.

The humeral component is then inserted into the upper arm bone. This maybe press fit relying on the bone to grow into it or cemented depending on a number of factors such as bone quality and surgeon’s preference.

The humeral head component is then placed on the humeral stem. This can be made of metal or ceramic.

The artificial components are fixed in place. The Joint capsule is stitched together. The muscle and tendons are then repaired and the skin is closed.