Capsulotomy of the knee is a surgical procedure to release tightness of the capsule.

Page updated August 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)


Freeing knee extension via capsulotomy

The procedure of 'posterior capsulotomy' cuts and releases a contracted capsule at the back of the knee where scar tissue has limited range of motion in the condition of 'arthrofibrosis'.

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Peer-reviewed papers

  • Quote:

    "The loss of knee extension, even if minimal, is disabling and considerably affects the individual's quality of life"....with "quadriceps weakness unresponsive to exercises, anterior knee pain, and a progressive inability to practice physical activities...Therefore, a posterior capsulotomy may be performed to resolve the deficit in knee extension." But "[b]ecause of the potential risks associated with this procedure including progression to genu recurvatum, this procedure is not performed on a widespread basis."

    Citation: Gomes JLE, Leie MA, de Freitas Soares A, Ferrari MB, Sánchez G. Posterior Capsulotomy of the Knee: Treatment of Minimal Knee Extension Deficit. Arthrosc Tech. 2017 Oct 12;6(5):e1535-e1539. doi: 10.1016/j.eats.2017.06.033. PMID: 29354470; PMCID: PMC5709971.

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Posterior capsulotomy
posterior capsular release

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