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What is manipulation under anaesthesia?

Manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which aims to relieve chronic pain and reduce the stiffness in your joints. Joints such as knees, hips, shoulders or toes sometimes become stiff and painful.

The pain can be due to muscle spasms, adhesions (internal scarring) from previous injury or surgery, joint misalignment or joint capsule inflammation such as frozen shoulder.

Manipulation under general anaesthetic (MUA) is often recommended when conservative physiotherapy treatment has failed to treat the joint affected.

What happens during MUA?

  • MUA is usually performed under general anaesthetic. Sometimes local or spinal anaesthetic is used
  • Your anaesthetist will discuss what method will be used with you
  • The procedure takes about 20 minutes
  • Your surgeon will move your stiff joint to a full range of motion – stretching the surrounding muscles and freeing the joint capsule. They may inject local anaesthetic for post-operative pain
  • MUA is usually done as a day case meaning you will be able to go home once you have recovered from the anaesthetic.

Going home after MUA

  • You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home when you are discharged
  • You may experience swelling in the joint in the first weeks of recovery
  • Rest, ice and elevate the limb if possible
  • Take over the counter pain medication if needed
  • Once the swelling has decreased you should experience greater ease in movement
  • Your consultant may refer you for physiotherapy so that you can maintain your range of motion.
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