Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee used to mean you were likely to need major surgery to repair the damage. The same held true for severe shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears. However, joint surgery has come a long way in the past few decades, and less invasive types of surgical solutions are now available that don’t require opening up the entire joint.
The Institute for Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine in San Francisco, California, is led by San Francisco shoulder surgeons Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht and Dr. Ephraim Dickinson. They routinely treat knee and shoulder injuries using arthroscopic shoulder surgery and capsulorrhaphy, or ACL shrinkage and knee surgery to restore the joint.
What conditions indicate capsulorrhaphy or ACL shrinkage?
The knees and shoulders are some of the most important joints in the body, especially for athletes. However, they’re also the most prone to serious injury. Damage to the shoulder joint can lead to long-term ligament laxity and multidirectional instability, while the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee can leave you with tears that stretch the tissue and create instability.
Rotator cuff surgery or ACL surgery can be incredibly invasive and have a long recovery time. Joint repair is complicated, and stretched ligaments are difficult to mend. With capsulorrhaphy, collagen fibers in the ligaments contract under the application of thermal heat, and the remaining surgery can often be completed arthroscopically.
What to expect
Capsulorrhaphy can only be done if the ligament is still intact, so Dr. Halbrecht and Dr. Dickinson perform biomechanical tests to determine if you’re eligible for the procedure. They only recommend thermal shrinkage on a case-by-case basis, and often conduct shrinkage at the same time as another procedure, such as Bankart surgery.
Capsulorrhaphy or ACL shrinkage is completed using small instruments called arthroscopes to guide a specialized heated probe. The thermal heat gently shrinks the fibers of the ligament, increasing its tension and reducing instability in the shoulder or knee joint.
The effects of thermal shrinkage aren’t permanent when used alone, but when used as part of an arthroscopic repair, they can support better healing of the ligament. The procedure has a much shorter recovery time than a full shoulder or knee reconstruction.
Why choose IASM?
The techniques for capsulorrhaphy for rotator cuff tears and ACL tears is still relatively new; it’s being refined every day by experts in the field of joint surgery. To find out if you’re a candidate, you need an evaluation by an experienced knee and rotator cuff doctor. San Francisco-based Dr. Halbrecht and Dr. Dickinson at IASM are the ideal choice.
If you’re looking for a shoulder doctor in San Francisco who performs thermal shrinkage and arthroscopic joint surgery, Drs. Halbrecht and Dickinson can evaluate your case and let you know if capsulorrhaphy is right for you. To schedule a consultation, call the location closest to you, or book an appointment online.