Frozen Shoulder Embolization

The interventional radiologists at the American Hospital of Paris have led the way in developing arterial embolization to treat this condition in France.

Adhesive Capulitis Embolization

 Adhesive capsulitis, or, as it is more widely known, frozen shoulder, is a relatively common condition affecting up to 10 percent of the general population, according to studies.

The interventional radiologists at the American Hospital of Paris have led the way in developing arterial embolization to treat this condition in France, performing their first procedures five years ago when the technique was still in its experimental stage. All of our interventional radiologists have extensive experience in treating this condition and perform hundreds of embolization procedures every year.

In addition, the American Hospital of Paris has an interventional radiologist on call 24/7 in the event of a problem or question following the procedure.

What is frozen shoulder embolization?

Using modern image-guided techniques and latest-generation radiology equipment, an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter into an artery in the patient’s arm, then threads it to the arteries that supply blood to the affected area of the shoulder.

Next, the radiologist injects a contrast dye to facilitate an angiography, which will reveal the presence of abnormally enlarged vessels (neovascularization) nearly 90 percent of the time.

If neovascularization is detected, the interventional radiologist injects an embolic agent that obstructs the newly formed vessels.

The radiologist then removes the catheter from the artery and places a bandage over the puncture site.

In all cases, the entire procedure is endovascular, meaning it is performed through the blood vessels. There is therefore no local scarring.

What is the purpose of frozen shoulder embolization?

One of the main causes of frozen shoulder is neovascularization, in which abnormally enlarged blood vessels develop, resulting in painful local inflammation.

The purpose of embolization is to reduce blood flow to these vessels.

The reduced blood supply alleviates the local inflammation, thus improving symptoms.

What happens during a frozen shoulder embolization procedure at the American Hospital of Paris?

Prior to the procedure, you will meet with an interventional radiologist and an anesthesiologist for a consultation.

On the day of the procedure, after arriving at the Hospital, you will be accompanied to the interventional radiology room, where the radiologist will meet you. The anesthesiologist and his or her team will prepare you for the procedure, for example by inserting an IV. The procedure lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.

You may choose to watch the procedure in real time, or have the anesthesiologist administer sedation via an injection to help you relax. General anesthesia is not required. 

Once the procedure is over, you will be monitored for one hour in the post-anesthesia care unit, and then for another hour in ambulatory care. After these two hours of monitoring, you will be allowed to go home.

Recovery after the procedure is rapid. Patients are able to walk and return to normal activity the same day. No wound care is required.

How should I prepare for a frozen shoulder embolization procedure?

During your consultation with the interventional radiologist, you will learn about the procedure and the steps involved. If there is any uncertainty about your diagnosis, additional laboratory or imaging tests may be ordered. Individual patient cases are also verified and discussed during multidisciplinary meetings at the Hospital, in order to choose the most appropriate course of action for each patient.

What are the treatment outcomes?

After an embolization procedure, symptoms significantly improve in 80 to 85 percent of cases.

In particular, studies show a major improvement of the scores relating to mobility and quality of life.

Embolization has no cosmetic side effects.

The procedure can be repeated several times in the event of symptomatic recurrence, and does not preclude the subsequent use of other techniques, such as surgery.

Embolization is therefore an excellent treatment for patients with frozen shoulder for whom medication and/or physiotherapy have been ineffective.

What are the side effects of frozen shoulder embolization?

The rate of major complications is next to zero.

A few minor complications may occur, possibly combined with a post-embolization syndrome (100°F/38°C fever and local redness). The syndrome disappears on its own within a few days.

In accordance with Article 53 of the French code of conduct for medical professionals, physician fees must be determined with tact and moderation and fall within the national average.
You will benefit from the medical expertise and safety of a bona fide hospital and receive exclusive care delivered by our anesthesiology team and paramedical staff, all in a pleasant and comfortable environment.

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