Purpose of review: The treatment of shoulder instability with thermal energy generated from radiofrequency probes and lasers is an evolving technology in orthopaedic surgery. Arthroscopic thermal capsulorrhaphy is a minimally invasive and technically simple procedure to treat shoulder instability. Recent findings: Basic science investigations continue to evaluate the effects of thermal energy on shoulder joint capsular tissue. Studies with short-term follow-up evaluating the role of thermal capsulorrhaphy to treat multidirectional instability show promise. Long-term outcome studies are lacking in the literature. The indications, contraindications and complication profile are evolving. Quantification of energy delivery and the degree of capsular shrinkage continue to be difficult to ascertain. There does not to appear to be adverse affects on capsular integrity, revision surgery or shoulder proprioception with thermal capsulorrhaphy. Summary: This article will review recent contributions to the basic science and clinical literature that advance our understanding of arthroscopic thermal capsulorrhaphy.
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