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Hydrodilatation is a treatment recommended for joints that are painful and stiff due to the formation of scar tissue.It is usually performed to treat frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by pain and loss of motion in the shoulder joint. It is caused by inflammation of the ligaments connecting the shoulder bones to each other. The shoulder capsule becomes thick, tight, and stiff bands of tissue called adhesions develop. Individuals with a previous shoulder injury orsurgery, history of immobilized shoulder for a long period of time or other disease conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and cardiac diseases are at risk of developing frozen shoulder.

The hydrodilation procedure involves injecting a fluid into the joint space which expands the space breaking up scar tissue and loosening the joint.Imaging studies help guide the procedure.

To perform hydrodilatation, the skin over the joint is first cleaned and local anesthesia administered.The joint is then injected with a small amount ofcontrast substance to help visualize the joint. Under image guidance, a needle is inserted into the capsule that surrounds the joint and a fluid mixture consisting of saline, steroid and an anaesthetic is injected. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes.You may experience some discomfort during and after the procedure which usually lasts no more than half an hour. You are advised not to drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 6 hours. Somepatients have immediate relief from pain with improved range of motion but it usually takes about 6 weeks for the treatment to takefull effect. 

Hydrodilatation is generally a safe procedurebut carries a small risk of infection, bleeding and failure to relieve symptoms.

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