Calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder: arthroscopic needling versus complete calcium removal and rotator cuff repair. A prospective comparative study

Joints. 2016 Jan 31;3(4):166-72. doi: 10.11138/jts/2015.3.4.166. eCollection 2015 Oct-Dec.


Purpose: the aim of the present study was to verify the differences in the clinical outcomes of two arthroscopic techniques used to treat calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder: needling versus complete removal of the calcium deposit and tendon repair.

Methods: from September 2010 to September 2012, 40 patients with calcifying tendinitis of the rotator cuff were arthroscopically treated by the same surgeon using one of the two following techniques: needling (Group 1) and complete removal of the calcium deposit and tendon repair with suture anchors (Group 2). Both groups followed the same rehabilitation program. The two groups were compared at 6 and 12 months of follow-up for the presence of residual calcifications and for the following clinical outcomes: Constant score, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Evaluation Form (ASES) shoulder score, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shoulder rating scale, Simple Shoulder Test (SST) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

Results: all the clinical scores (Constant, ASES, UCLA, SST and VAS scores) improved significantly between baseline and postoperative follow-up, both at 6 and at 12 months. No differences at final follow-up were found between the two groups.

Conclusions: both the techniques were effective in solving the symptoms of calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder. Clinical scores improved in both groups. Residual calcifications were found in only a few cases and were always less than 10 mm.

Level of evidence: Level II, prospective comparative study.

Keywords: calcifying tendinitis; calcium deposit; needling; removal; rotator cuff; shoulder.