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Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive Capsulitis, is a painful condition

when the joint capsule becomes thick, stiff, and inflamed.  The pain and thickening also leads to limited mobility of the shoulder joint.

Procedural Details
Adhesive Capsulitis Embolization

The inflammation that contributes to the pain and capsule thickening is caused by abnormal and increased blood flow with new vessels, or hypervascularity, to the joint capsule.  ACE is a minimally invasive procedure that injects microspheres into the abnormal vessels, reducing the increased blood flow, and therefore disrupting the pain-inflammation cycle. Restoring normal blood flow to the capsule has shown to reduce pain and restore motion to the shoulder. 

The interventional Radiologist makes a small needle puncture into a blood vessel at the wrist and guides a microcatheter into the blood vessels that supply the inflamed part of the shoulder. The procedure is performed under a ‘twilight sleep’ and is relatively painless.

Microscopic beads are injected into the areas with abnormal vessels and hypervascularity, reducing the excessive flow causing the pain and inflammation. Normal blood flow to the shoulder and its surrounding tissues remains intact after the procedure.

Advantages of ACE
  • No surgical incision, manipulation or injection into the shoulder joint

  • Painless procedure lasting about one hour

  • Typically return to work within a day or two without the need for a lengthy recovery

  • Very low complication rate without any effect on future shoulder treatments 

  • Symptom improvement usually within 3-4 weeks

The Facts
  • Frozen shoulder most commonly occurs in adults between 40 and 60 years old

  • Affects more woman than men

  • Between 10 and 20 percent of individuals with diabetes develop frozen shoulder

  • It is common to develop frozen shoulder after a shoulder surgery or injury

  • Symptoms from frozen shoulder can last from 1-3 years


Results from a United States Investigational
Device Study of Adhesive Capsulitis
Embolization in the Treatment of
Shoulder Pain: The Adhesive Capsulitis
Embolization Study

Sandeep Bagla, MD, Sameer Nagda, MD, Rachel Piechowiak, DO, Julie Orlando, BHS, Abin Sajan, MD, and Ari Isaacson, MD

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