Clinical Outcomes of Ultrasound-Guided Aspiration and Lavage in Calcific Tendinosis of the Shoulder



To determine the effectiveness of ultrasound-guided aspiration and lavage in the treatment of patients with calcific tendinosis of the shoulder.

Materials and methods

Retrospective chart review resulted in 44 patients who were identified as having received ultrasound-guided aspiration of calcific tendinosis of the shoulder between 2000 and 2003. Of these, 36 patients were interviewed by telephone for pre- and posttreatment assessment of pain, shoulder function, prior shoulder surgery, injury, and prescribed treatment modalities with a follow-up time of 8 months to 3.1 years (mean = 22.5 months). L’Insalata score, numeric rating scale (NRS), and patient satisfaction score served as outcome measures.


Our criteria for a successful outcome included (1) 12-point or greater improvement in the L’Insalata shoulder rating questionnaire, (2) 2-point or greater improvement in the NRS, (3) patient satisfaction rating of “good”, “very good”, or “excellent”, (4) patients’ willingness to undergo the procedure again if they experienced recurrent symptoms, and (5) 1 month or less of analgesic medication use after the aspiration procedure. We determined that ultrasound-guided aspiration of calcific tendinosis of the shoulder resulted in a successful outcome for 75% (27/36) of patients with a mean 20.2-point improvement in the L’Insalata shoulder rating questionnaire score and a mean 6.4-point improvement in the NRS (p < 0.01). Conclusion: This retrospective study suggests that ultrasound-guided aspiration and lavage of calcific shoulder deposits appears to be an efficacious therapeutic modality for treatment of calcific tendinosis. Further studies involving prospective randomized controlled trials would be helpful to further assess the long-term efficacy of this procedure as a minimally invasive treatment for calcific tendinosis of the shoulder.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ronald S. Adler PhD, MD.

Additional information

This study was performed by the Departments of Physiatry and of Radiology and Imaging, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

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Lin, J.T., Adler, R.S., Bracilovic, A. et al. Clinical Outcomes of Ultrasound-Guided Aspiration and Lavage in Calcific Tendinosis of the Shoulder. HSS Jrnl 3, 99–105 (2007).

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Key words

  • ultrasound-guidance
  • aspiration
  • lavage
  • calcification
  • shoulder tendinosis