Mid-Term Results of Transcatheter Arterial Embolization for Adhesive Capsulitis Resistant to Conservative Treatment



To evaluate the mid-term clinical outcomes of transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) for adhesive capsulitis (AC) resistant to medical treatments.

Materials and Methods

This is a prospective analysis performed between February 2016 and February 2020. Inclusion criteria for TAE were shoulder pain, restriction of movement and no response to conservative treatment for at least 3 months. Demographic variables, risk factors, technical aspects, adverse events, changes by visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and physical examination before and after TAE were assessed.


This study included 40 patients with AC (35 women and 5 men; mean age 50 ± 9 years old). Abnormal vessels were observed in 31/40 (77.5%) procedures. As embolic agent, imipenem/cilastatin was used. The mean follow-up was 21.2 ± 10.5 months. Significant differences were obtained in terms of pain reduction before and 6 months after TAE with the median visual analogue scale (VAS) of 8 vs. 0.5, P = 0.0001. Substantial differences were found regarding mobility in flexion and abduction before and 6 months after embolization, respectively (79.5° ± 18.5° vs. 133° ± 24.5°, P = 0.0001; 72.4° ± 18.8° vs. 129.7° ± 27.9°, P = 0.0001). No complications occurred. Complete recovery was obtained in 37/40 (92.5%) patients and partial recovery in 2/40 (5%). No clinical recurrence appeared.


Clinical results of transcatheter arterial embolization with imipenem/cilastatin are effective and stable in the mid-term follow-up for patients presenting with AC resistant to conservative treatments.

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Adhesive capsulitis


Digital subtraction angiography


Imipenem/cilastatin sodium


Magnetic resonance imaging


Range of motion


Transcatheter arterial embolization


Visual analogue scale


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This study was not supported by any funding.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana María Fernández Martínez MD.

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The study performed was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Our hospital clinical research ethics committee approved this study.

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Fernández Martínez, A.M., Baldi, S., Alonso-Burgos, A. et al. Mid-Term Results of Transcatheter Arterial Embolization for Adhesive Capsulitis Resistant to Conservative Treatment. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 44, 443–451 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00270-020-02682-4

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  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Shoulder
  • Stiffness
  • Imipenem/cilastatin sodium