Shoulder calcificing tendinopathy: 15-minute treatment
Publication date: 23-02-2021
Updated on: 01-03-2023
Estimated reading time: 1 min
“Calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder – explains Professor Luca Sconfienza, Chief of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Department of Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi - is an extremely common pathology that often occurs in women 40-50 y.o. This pathology affects up to 40% of painful shoulders. The cause is not yet fully known, but the most common version is the low amount of oxygen reaching shoulder tendons, as well as the influence, probably, of a hormonal factor, which also explains higher frequency of this disease in women.
Symptoms are extremely varied as calcification changes over time. Pain may be subtle in the onset, but in the acute phase, pain is largely uncontrolled even with medication, leading patients to the emergency room. For this reason, various methods of treatment are offered: both wave therapy (contraindicated in the case of extensive and painful calcifications) and surgical intervention (invasive treatment is certainly effective, but it is carried out in complex cases).
Ultrasound treatment was introduced several years ago and has proven to be effective. This treatment is carried out as follows: a patient is injected with local anesthesia, under the control of an ultrasound machine, 1-2 needles are inserted into the calcification, then the calcification is dissolved with physiological saline solution and, finally, liquid calcification is sucked out. The treatment ends with an anti-inflammatory injection.
After the treatment, which lasts for a total of 15 minutes, the patient can return home to resume their daily activities the next day. It is worth noting the need to observe precautions for at least 15 days, such as not overloading the shoulder and undergoing physiotherapy.
This is a treatment that is currently considered the first approach to calcific tendinopathy, and it solves 80% of cases.”