Phone: 817-697-4038 Fax: 877-409-3962


If you need a capsulotomy, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is A Capsulotomy?

Capsulotomy is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision or releasing the fibrous capsule surrounding a joint. The joint capsule is a thick, fibrous tissue that encloses the joint, providing stability and containing the synovial fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint. Capsulotomy is performed to increase the range of motion in a joint that has limited mobility due to a tight or contracted capsule.

There are two main types of capsulotomy:

  1. Open Capsulotomy: In this procedure, the surgeon makes a surgical incision to directly access and open the joint capsule. Open capsulotomy allows for precise visualization and manipulation of the joint capsule, making it suitable for complex or challenging cases.
  2. Arthroscopic Capsulotomy: Arthroscopic capsulotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an arthroscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end. The arthroscope is inserted through small incisions, and surgical instruments are used to release the tight joint capsule.

Conditions Requiring Capsulotomy: Capsulotomy is indicated when a joint becomes stiff or loses its range of motion due to a contracted or tight capsule. This can occur as a result of various conditions, including:

  • Joint Injuries: After an injury to the joint, scar tissue and inflammation can cause the joint capsule to tighten, limiting movement.
  • Joint Arthritis: Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to synovial inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule, causing joint stiffness.
  • Post-Surgery Stiffness: Following joint surgery, some individuals may develop excessive scar tissue, leading to reduced joint mobility.
  • Joint Contractures: In certain medical conditions or after prolonged immobilization, joint contractures may develop, resulting in a limited range of motion.

Recovery and Rehabilitation: After capsulotomy, the patient undergoes a period of post-operative rehabilitation to optimize joint function and range of motion. Physical therapy and exercises are prescribed to gradually stretch and strengthen the joint. Following the surgeon’s instructions and participating in rehabilitation diligently are crucial for achieving the best possible outcomes.

It is important to note that capsulotomy is typically considered after conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, have been unsuccessful in improving joint mobility. The decision to perform a capsulotomy is made based on the patient’s specific condition, medical history, and the extent of joint stiffness. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with capsulotomy, and patients should discuss potential benefits and complications with their orthopedic surgeon before proceeding with the surgery.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.