Postarthroscopic Arthrofibrosis of the Shoulder

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Arthrofibrosis after shoulder surgery may be challenging to treat. Certain factors, including diabetes and history of keloid formation, predispose patients to the development of postoperative arthrofibrosis. Etiologies include rotator cuff repair, labral repair, capsulorrhaphy, shoulder arthroplasty, and proximal humerus fracture fixation. Systematic evaluation with thorough history and physical examination is essential to determine the proper treatment and to counsel patients on expectations for recovery. Nonoperative treatment focused on physical therapy is the first step in management. Manipulation under anesthesia may be an effective treatment for failure of physical therapy regimens in idiopathic adhesive capsulitis, however it is less successful in cases of postsurgical adhesions. In cases of postoperative stiffness, treatment options include arthroscopic and open capsular releases. Adequate postoperative pain control and adherence to a rigorous physical therapy regimen are integral to the success of surgical release. Surgical treatment is effective in the majority of patients with postsurgical arthrofibrosis.

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