Purpose: Strategies for extracorporeal shockwave therapy in calcifying tendinitis of the rotator cuff vary concerning quantity of sessions and doses. The purpose of this prospective pilot study was to determine the difference between the outcome of a single high-dosage extracorporeal shockwave therapy and two sessions of low-dosage extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Methods: This study compared a single high-level middle-energetic extracorporeal shockwave therapy (0.3 mJ/mm(2)) with a low-level middle-energetic extracorporeal shockwave therapy applied twice in a weekly interval (0.2 mJ/mm(2)). Thirty patients that suffered from calcifying tendinitis for at least 6 months received navigated, fluoroscopy-guided extracorporeal shockwave therapy. The gain of Constant Murley Score, Visual Analogue Scale during state of rest and weight-bearing situations ("stress") and radiographic progress was documented 6 and 12 weeks after therapy.
Results: In both groups, a significant reduction in pain during stress and improvement of function was observed. In contrast, no significant reduction in pain during rest was observed. No significant difference between both groups concerning reduction in the calcific deposit after 6 weeks was detected. Group B showed minor advantages in radiographical improvement after 12 weeks. In 36% of the patients, the calcific deposit completely dissoluted after 12 weeks.
Conclusions: This pilot study indicates that a single high-level extracorporeal shockwave therapy may be as effective as two applications of a lower-dosed extracorporeal shockwave therapy for calcifying tendinitis. An effective single-session strategy could reduce treatment time, material costs and healthcare expenses and ionizing radiation in case of fluoroscopy guidance.