Ultrasound (US) Guided Fine Needle Aspiration
and Lavage for Calcific Shoulder Tendonitis
Calcific Shoulder Tendonitis is caused by crystal deposits in the rotator cuff tendons. This condition accounts for nearly 20% of cases where patients between the ages of 30 - 70 are seen for shoulder pain. It can cause intense pain, resulting in significant damage to the patient’s economic status and emotional well being.
Temporary relief can sometime be found through non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections. However, these are short-term solutions that can create complications and do not address the cause of the problem.
US guided fine needle aspiration and lavage involves using an ultrasound-guided needle to break up the crystal deposits, the area is then cleaned and the crystals are removed with suction. The procedure takes about 30 minutes to complete, is very tolerable and performed through a tiny incision that only requires a band aid afterwards. Typically, patients feel immediate relief and are able to return to their normal routine within a week.
No surgery or general anesthesia is involved and treatment is very well tolerated and considered pain-free by most patients.
Who Performs the Procedure
Our physicians who perform this treatment are doctors who completed medical school and then attended an additional 4 - 5 years of medical training in the field of radiology and musculoskeletal fellowships. Their advanced subspecialist medical training provides the expertise to use imaging to guide this minimally invasive procedure. MSK radiologists are also uniquely qualified to perform therapeutic and diagnostic services including image-guided joint injections, image-guided spine injections and dry needle treatment for tendonopathy.
"After 9 years of suffering from excruciating pain in my shoulder, a 30-minute outpatient procedure cured me. Before treatment it was hard to sleep and there were days where I couldn’t function because of the agony. It felt like something extremely heavy was pulling my arm out of the socket. This feeling radiated down to my hands. Some days the pain was constant, others it felt better. Narcotics were the only solution my doctors had for me. My life revolved around trying to find relief.
I’m employed at a veteran’s facility and push wheelchairs, so you can imagine how this condition affected me on the job. Many times I had to miss work. I like to exercise and used to be in great physical shape, but for the last two years, I couldn’t push through the pain. I got depressed because I couldn’t live a normal life.
Then, I injured my shoulder in an accident. When the radiologist was reviewing the images for my shoulder, he told my doctor about a procedure he does that could relieve the pain I had been suffering from for all these years. I was wary at first because I didn’t realize that radiologists are medical doctors. When I learned more, I decided to give it a try.
My doctor from Advanced Radiology Services is a musculoskeletal specialist. He used real time ultrasound imaging to guide him while he broke up and syringed out the calcification responsible for my troubles.
Although I was really nervous when I went in to have the procedure, it was totally painless and only took a half hour. I was awake and talking the whole time and before I knew it, we were done.
From the moment my procedure was completed, I have been totally pain free and feel like I have a new shoulder. At work, I push veterans in wheelchairs with no problems–at home, my family can’t believe how well I’m doing. To me, it’s a miracle that a 30-minute procedure could fix something no one could help me with in 9 years. I am sharing my story because I want others who have this condition to know there is a cure for it that will help them get on with their lives."
Actual Advanced Radiology Patient