Extracorporeal shockwaves versus ultrasound-guided percutaneous lavage for the treatment of rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial

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BACKGROUND: Extracorporeal shockwave treatment (ESWT) and ultrasound-guided percutaneous lavage (UGPL) are two effective ways of treating rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy (RCCT). AIM: The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of these techniques in the treatment of RCCT. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Patients treated in our sports medicine and rehabilitation center (Centro Médico Deyre, Madrid. Spain) between January 2007 and December 2013. METHODS: This randomized study compares the results achieved with these techniques over one year following their use to treat the above condition. Eighty patients received ESWT and 121 received UGPL. A visual analogue scale was used to measure pain, and ultrasound to determine the extent of calcification, at 3, 6, and 12 months after treatment. RESULTS: Pain and the amount of calcification were significantly reduced by both techniques at 3, 6 and 12 months (P<0.001 for each), but significantly more so by UGPL (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Both techniques are valid for the treatment of RCCT, although UGPL is associated with a greater reduction of calcification and greater reduction in pain. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The results obtained applying UGPL, the low cost and the lack of complications should therefore make the treatment of choice in centers that are appropriately equipped and staffed.