Hydrodilatation in the management of shoulder capsulitis

Simon Bell, Jennifer Coghlan, Martin Richardson

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59 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to research the benefit of hydraulic arthrographic capsular distension (hydrodilatation) in the management of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. One hundred and nine shoulders with primary adhesive capsulitis were treated with hydrodilatation. Prior to the procedure, 93 shoulders were painful. Two months following the procedure, 31 continued to have some pain. In the 109 shoulders, the measured range of passive glenohumeral movement improved by approximately 30° in all directions. The procedure was of similar benefit if carried out early or late in the disease process. The absolute improvement in movement range was similar in severe and mild cases. The severe cases in the long term, although improved, still had more restriction in movement and tended to have more pain than the other cases. There was considerable improvement in all the non-diabetic patients. The patients with diabetes responded less well in the long term to hydrodilatation and had an increased requirement for arthroscopic surgery. Effective treatment of adhesive capsulitis can be achieved in the majority of cases with an immediate hydrodilatation of the shoulder. Technically, it is important to achieve maximum distension, preferably with capsular rupture, and to utilize cortisone in the fluid injected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-251
Number of pages5
JournalAustralasian Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Arthrography
  • Hydrodilatation
  • Shoulder

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