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Upper Limb

Ultrasound-guided needling combined with shock-wave therapy for the treatment of calcifying tendonitis of the shoulder

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We carried out a prospective, randomised controlled trial on two groups of 40 patients with painful calcific tendonitis and a mean age of 48.4 years (32.5 to 67.3). All were to undergo arthroscopic removal of the calcific deposit within six months after randomisation. The 40 patients in group I received ultrasound-guided needling followed by high-energy shock-wave therapy and the 40 in group II had shock-wave therapy alone. In both groups one treatment consisting of 2500 impulses of shock waves with an energy flux density of 0.36 mJ/mm2 was applied. The clinical and radiological outcome was assessed using the 100-point Constant shoulder scoring system and standardised radiographs. The mean follow-up was 4.1 months and no patient was lost to follow-up.

Both groups had significant improvement in their Constant shoulder score. Radiographs showed disappearance of the calcific deposit in 60.0% of the shoulders in group I and in 32.5% of group II (p < 0.05). Significantly better clinical and radiological results were obtained in group I than in group II. Arthroscopic removal of the deposit was avoided in 32 patients of group I and in 22 of group II. No severe side-effects were recorded.

Ultrasound-guided needling in combination with high-energy shock-wave therapy is more effective than shock-wave therapy alone in patients with symptomatic calcific tendonitis, giving significantly higher rates of elimination of the calcium deposits, better clinical results and reduction in the need for surgery.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr C. Krasny; e-mail: christian.krasny@oss.at

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