Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder

We prospectively studied extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) for calcific tendinitis of the shoulder in 46 consecutive patients. All patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: treatment and control. The 33 patients in the treatment group received 2 courses of ESWT at the energy density of 0.55 mJ/mm2 (1000 impulses). The control group underwent sham treatment with a dummy electrode (13 patients). Evaluation included the Constant score, pain scale, and radiographs. The ESWT results were good to excellent in 87.9% of shoulders (29/33) and fair in 12.1% (4/33), and the control results were fair in 69.2% (9/13) and poor in 30.1% (4/13). Among ESWT patients, calcium deposits were completely eliminated in 7 cases (21.2%), partially eliminated in 11 (36.3%), and unchanged in 15 (45.4%). In contrast, elimination was partial in 2 control patients (15.3%) and unchanged in 11 (84.7%). There was no significant difference between Ga ̈rtner type I and type II groups in the Constant score ( P >.05). ESWT shows promise for pain relief and functional restoration of calcific tendinitis with negligible complications. (J Shoulder Elbow Surg 2008;17:55-59.)

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