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Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2011 Dec;19(4):420-7. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0b013e3182393e06.

Management of postoperative shoulder stiffness.

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Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Biomedico University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Arthroscopic surgery has become the most popular treatment to repair rotator cuff tears. Although the exact prevalence of postoperative stiffness is unknown, many studies report an incidence rate of 4% to 15%. Management of postoperative shoulder stiffness depends on the cause of the stiffness. Nonoperative and operative management modalities are available, but postoperative shoulder stiffness is often resistant to nonsurgical management. When conservative treatment fails, surgical release of the scar tissue and adhesions can be performed both by arthroscopic or open surgery. Arthroscopic capsular release is the preferred technique for capsule contraction and adhesion formation, as it allows precise and selective debridement of the scar tissue and division of the shortened and thickened capsule by partial or extensive capsulectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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