Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


Can you tell me how they do a shoulder manipulation? I know I'll be asleep for the operation but what happens exactly?


Surgical manipulation of a joint refers to a procedure whereby the surgeon moves the joint slowly and gently through its full range of motion. The patient is anesthetized to allow for full relaxation of the muscles, which would hold and contract otherwise to avoid the pain of movement. Once you are asleep, the surgeon moves your arm carefully through each motion: flexion, extension, and rotations (internal and external). The arm will also be moved across the body. This movement is called horizontal adduction. Adhesions and fibrous scar tissue will be torn in the process. The surgeon feels and hears the snapping, popping, grating sound called crepitus that signals release of the adhesions. Once the adhesions are released, the shoulder will move more smoothly and fully. The manipulation procedure is complete when the affected shoulder has the same range-of-motion as the uninvolved side. Nam Su Cho, MD, and Yong Girl Rhee, MD. Functional Outcome of Arthroscopic Repair with Concomitant Manipulation in Rotator Cuff Tears with Stiff Shoulder. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. July 2008. Vol. 36. No. 7. Pp. 1323-1329.

*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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