For citation purposes: Sedeek S, Chye Andrew TH. Adhesive capsulitis: is arthroscopic capsular release necessary? Current review. OA Orthopaedics 2013 Jul 13;1(1):8.

Critical Review

Surgical Procedures

Adhesive capsulitis: is arthroscopic capsular release necessary? Current review

S Sedeek, TH Chye Andrew

Authors affiliations

Sports Medicine Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

* Corresponding author E-mail:;



Adhesive capsulitis is a musculoskeletal condition that has a disabling capability. It is said to be a self-limiting process. However, in some patients, the disease can last much longer than 1 year. There are current escalating challenges related to when and how to treat a frozen shoulder. Most patients can be treated conservatively; nevertheless, indications for surgery still exist. Arthroscopic capsular release has become a popular procedure in the last few years and has proven to be a reliable and efficient procedure in selected refractory cases. The purpose of this article is to review the literature on adhesive capsulitis and provide background information on this topic, including pathogenesis, diagnosis and management, and to describe our technique in arthroscopic capsular release.


Adhesive capsulitis is a fairly common shoulder problem where most patients can be treated non-operatively. However, the refractory frozen shoulder is a challenging problem even to the most experienced shoulder surgeons.

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