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    The impact of introducing hydrodistension as a treatment for frozen shoulder in a primary care musculoskeletal service: a retrospective audit

    Whelan, Gareth, Yeowell, Gillian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3872-9799 and Littlewood, Chris (2023) The impact of introducing hydrodistension as a treatment for frozen shoulder in a primary care musculoskeletal service: a retrospective audit. Musculoskeletal Care. ISSN 1478-2189

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    Abstract

    Introduction Hydrodistension, where a relatively high volume of local anaesthetic, corticosteroid, and sterile saline are injected into the shoulder joint, is a treatment of interest for frozen shoulder. In the UK National Health Service this is typically provided in the hospital setting. In 2017 we introduced hydrodistension into our physiotherapy led musculoskeletal service. This report describes the findings from our audit of onward referral for orthopaedic assessment following the introduction of hydrodistension to our frozen shoulder treatment pathway. Methods A retrospective audit of data from 102 patients who followed our hydrodistension treatment pathway for frozen shoulder since 2017 was conducted. All 102 patients received at least one hydrodistension procedure performed by a physiotherapist. This involved injecting the glenohumeral joint with a combination of local anaesthetic, corticosteroid, and saline under ultrasound guidance with a total volume of 25–35 mls. This data was compared to the outcomes of 102 patients who presented with frozen shoulder prior to 2017 who did not receive hydrodistension. Results Of 102 patients who received hydrodistension within the musculoskeletal service, six patients required onward referral to orthopaedics. Of the 102 patients who did not receive hydrodistension prior to 2017, 58 required onward referral to orthopaedics. Conclusion We report a reduction in onward referral to orthopaedics following the introduction of hydrodistension to our physiotherapist-led treatment pathway for patients with frozen shoulder. This preliminary data identifies the need to further evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of hydrodistension performed by physiotherapists for patients with frozen shoulder.

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