Shrink to Fit Shoulders are Not for EveryoneSome types of surgery are not helpful for all types of patients. This is especially true for a new type of shoulder surgery called laser capsulorrhaphy. A laser is used to heat up and shrink loose tissues around the shoulder joint. The result can be a steady and stable shoulder joint. But which patients do best with this type of surgery?
It may depend somewhat on what caused the shoulder to become loose in the first place. Joint laxity occurs in three groups of patients. The first group is born with general laxity in all the joints. This kind of laxity is congenital laxity. The second group has a history of repeated damage from overuse. This is called acquired laxity. The last group can think of a specific event that caused the damage. This is called posttraumatic laxity.
Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation studied patient reports of success after this type of shoulder surgery. Twenty-five patients with loose shoulder joints had the laser treatment.
The doctors found that laser treatment for unstable shoulders works well for some, but not all patients. By their own report, patients with acquired laxity have the best results. Those with laxity from birth that affects all the joints have less chance of success with this form of treatment. The authors don't advise a second laser treatment when laser capsulorrhaphy doesn't work the first time.
Thomas A. Joseph, MD, et al. Laser Capsulorrhaphy for Multidirectional Instability of the Shoulder. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January/February 2003. Vol. 31. No. 1. Pp. 26-35.
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