Arthroscopic release of the stiff arthroplasty

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Stiffness after shoulder arthroplasty is a commonly reported complication. The mainstay of treatment for stiffness is organized physical therapy. Stiffness refractory to therapy may require surgical intervention. Our patient was a 51-year-old who underwent a shoulder hemiarthroplasty. Despite aggressive physical therapy, the patient went on to develop a painful stiff shoulder. The patient was treated with an arthroscopic release and manipulation. This technique utilizes direct arthroscopic visualization of the contracted tissues and a controlled release utilizing electrocautery and arthroscopic biters. A gentle manipulation followed by repeat arthroscopic joint inspection was then performed. This technique allows for a safe and reliable option that gives direct visualization and control. Our patient demonstrated excellent results with an increase in 65 degrees of forward elevation and 40 degrees of external rotation. The main limitations for our paper include reporting on only 1 patient and that the risks of this operative procedure following an arthroplasty are not well understood in the current literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-87
Number of pages3
JournalTechniques in Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Arthroscopic capsular release
  • Complication
  • Postoperative stiffness
  • Shoulder arthroplasty


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