The pathology of frozen shoulder

Hand, G; Athanasou, N; Matthews, T; Smith, H; Carr, A.

In this stydy 22 patients with a diagnosis of primary frozen shoulder resistant to conservative treatment were treated by manipulation under anaesthetic and arthroscopic release of the rotator interval, at a mean time from onset of 15 months.  Biopsies were taken from this site and histological and immunocytochemical analysis was performed to identify the types of cell present. The tissue was characterised by the presence of fibroblasts, proliferating fibroblasts and chronic inflammatory cells. The infiltrate of chronic inflammatory cells was predominantly made up of mast cells, with T cells, B cells and macrophages also present. The authors concluded that the pathology of frozen shoulder includes a chronic inflammatory response with fibroblastic proliferation which may be immunomodulated. 

Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery , 2007, 89-B(7), 928-932.

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