Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I just had a special heat treatment to tighten up an unstable shoulder joint. Now I'm worried that the joint won't be able to relax. How do they shrink the capsule but still keep the motion? I'm in a sling so I can't move it just yet anyway.


Studies using thermal energy to heat the shoulder capsule were first done on animals. There were no obvious problems seen afterwards in relaxation of the tissue. Studies were done next on cadavers (human bodies preserved after death for study) and finally, on live humans. Loss of joint motion hasn't been reported.

If anything there are some concerns that shrinkage alters the elasticity of the tissue. Under too much load there's a risk of stretching out the tissues. In this case, the shoulder can become unstable again with too much motion.

Your best bet for a good result is to follow your doctor's directions and report any problems early on.

William N. Levine, MD, et al. Thermal Capsulorrhaphy. In Orthopedics. August 2004. Vol. 27. No. 8. Pp. 823-826.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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