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Hydrodilation, also known as shoulder distension arthrography, is available for the treatment of frozen shoulder.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be awake during treatment, with the treatment area numbed using an injection of local anaesthetic.

You will be asked to lie on a treatment table and a needle will be inserted into your shoulder joint. Low dose X-rays will be used to help your consultant radiologist guide the needle into the correct position.

When correct needle position has been confirmed, a combination of local anaesthetic, steroids, saline (salty water) and gas will be injected into the joint. This injection stretches and tears the thickened capsule to allow much improved shoulder movement.

After a few days the steroid will start to work on reducing inflammation reducing, or eliminating your shoulder pain.

What are the side effects?

  • Steroid can cause irritation following injection, creating the so-called ‘flare response’.
  • You may find your shoulder is more painful than it was for two or three days following treatment.
  • With any injection into a joint there is a risk of infection. This risk is greatly minimised however, as the injection is done under ‘sterile’ conditions.
  • Some of the steroid will travel around the body to other tissues and makes insulin work less well for this short period of time. Patients with diabetes must monitor their sugar levels for up to two weeks after the injection.

Hydrodilation consultants at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital

38 Giltspur Street, London, EC1A 7BS

020 3386 9000

There are several bus stops within walking distance of the hospital. The closest rail and tube stations are City Thameslink - 5 min walk, Barbican - 5 min walk, Elizabeth line at Farringdon - 3 min walk. Car parking is available in Smithfield Car Park nearby.

Hospital switchboard 020 3386 9000
General enquiries 0300 131 1433
Outpatients enquiries 0300 131 1432
Physiotherapy enquiries 020 3386 9002
Payments enquiries 0330 460 0099

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