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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology

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Extracorporeal shock wave therapy for chronic calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder

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Over the past few years, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) has been introduced for the treatment of some orthopedic diseases. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of ESWT on chronic calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder through a prospective study. We studied 30 patients (mean age, 56.6 years) with chronic calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder. The patients were treated for a mean of 6 sessions, with 1400 impulses for each session. We used the new device Electro Medical Systems-Swiss Dolorclast (Electro Medical Systems, Nyon, Switzerland), which emits radial expanded shock waves, pneumatically generated. Patients were evaluated before treatment and after a mean of 10 weeks on a patient-oriented questionnaire (Dawson shoulder questionnaire, validated Italian version) and by radiological and ultrasound examinations. Radiographic disintegration and partial resorption of the calcium deposit were respectively recorded in 50% and 30% of cases, and the ultra-sound image showed modification of echogenicity in all cases. Clinically a good response to pain and to joint movement was recorded; the questionnaire also showed a statistically significant improvement. Shock wave therapy for calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder is effective from the patient's perspective and according to imaging outcomes. It could be considered an effective therapy for chronic calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder.

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Received: 14 January 2002/Accepted: 15 March 2002

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  • Key words Calcifying tendinitis
  • Outcome
  • Questionnaire
  • Shock wave therapy
  • Shoulder