Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I've heard there's a way to treat shoulder dislocation with laser. Can anyone get this?

Answer:

Laser light and radiofrequency (RF) electric current are both used to heat capsular tissue in the shoulder after chronic dislocations. The procedure helps tighten up loose tissue around the joint. Patients must have dislocated more than once. Conservative treatment with rehab is always tried first for at least three months.

The treatment is called thermal shrinkage or thermal capsulorrhaphy. It's currently being used for patients with an unstable shoulder from trauma and joints that dislocate in more than one direction. It's also used when tissue inside the joint gets pinched.

A recent study from a shoulder and elbow clinic suggests it works best with traumatic shoulder dislocations. A shoulder that dislocates in all directions has the poorest results. Of course, anyone with fragile tissue in poor condition can't have this kind of heat applied.

Donald F. D'Alessandro, MD, et al. Prospective Evaluation of Thermal Capsulorrhaphy for Shoulder Instability. Indications and Results, Two- to Five-Year Follow-up. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January/February 2004. Vol. 32. No. 1. Pp. 21-33.

*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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