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Your shoulder joint consists of a ball (humeral head) and socket (humerus). A layer of tissue (cartilage) covers the surfaces of these bones ensuring smooth movement as the joints rub together.

The joint is surrounded by flexible tissue called a capsule. When the capsule becomes inflamed or thickens the range of motion in your shoulder becomes restricted and painful. This is called frozen shoulder.

If conservative treatment for frozen shoulder is not successful your consultant may recommend shoulder manipulation.

What happens during shoulder manipulation?

Shoulder manipulation is an operation usually performed under general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep your surgeon will stretch and release your shoulder capsule giving you greater range of motion. Your surgeon may also give you a local anaesthetic for post-operative pain.

Often shoulder manipulation is done in combination with shoulder arthroscopy.

After shoulder manipulation

Everyone recovers differently from shoulder manipulation. You will be given pain relief medication. Once you recover from the general anaesthetic a physiotherapist will visit you to show you shoulder exercises. It is very important that you maintain your new range of motion.

Most patients go home the day of their manipulation. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home.

Be sure and take any pain relief medication regularly. Ice your shoulder several times each day to ease any swelling. You will need to attend physiotherapy sessions regularly for several weeks following your procedure.

Discuss any return to work with your consultant.

As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Reaction to anaesthetic
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone break (rare)
  • Reoccurrence of frozen shoulder
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