Frozen Shoulder Embolization
FROZEN SHOULDER EMBOLIZATION
An effective, minimally invasive alternative to medication, extensive physical therapy and surgery.
What is “frozen shoulder?”
Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder results in the gradual loss of movement in the shoulder joint. The joint literally becomes “stuck” and its movement is limited.
Although little is known about why frozen shoulder occurs, the direct cause is inflammation within the tissues surrounding the shoulder joint. In a normal shoulder, these tissues (known as the capsule) expand and contract as the arm is moved. When they become inflamed, scarring develops within the joint. This is called adhesion, and when it occurs, it can cause pain and movement becomes restricted.
A frozen shoulder is highly vascularized, which means that there is an excessive number of abnormally large blood vessels within the joint. This allows an unusually high amount of pro-inflammatory mediators to enter the joint, which causes inflammation and scarring.
Treating frozen shoulder
In the past, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy were prescribed to restore the shoulder’s range of motion. Unfortunately, these conservative treatments take a long time, if they work at all. If symptoms persisted, arthroscopic surgery was recommended. However, surgery carries risks and also results in a lengthy recovery.
Today, a new option is available: Frozen Shoulder Embolization.
Performed by an interventional radiologist, this minimally invasive procedure offers long-lasting relief of the pain and stiffness of frozen shoulder. The procedure “embolizes” or partially blocks blood flow through the abnormal vessels. This in turn causes a reduction of the inflammation within the joint and provides significant relief within a few days of the procedure.
Patients who undergo this procedure have also reported a decreased need for medication, as well as a significant increase in shoulder function. Side effects are rare and can include bruising or soreness in the area where the catheter is inserted into the body.
Have you been diagnosed with frozen shoulder? Consult with us to learn about all of your options. In fact, we’ll work with other doctors and members of your care team to make sure that you receive the best treatment possible.