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Common Shoulder Procedure Found Worthless

 Common Shoulder Procedure Found Worthless

— No advantage over sham in randomized controlled trial

John Gever, Contributing Creator, MedPage This day

Saline lavage, supposed to loosen up calcified shoulder tendons, supplied no attend in a double-blind, sham-controlled trial, researchers acknowledged.

Four months after treatment, Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) values had been concerning the similar whether or not patients with so-known as calcific tendinopathy received the particular saline lavage plus injections with a corticosteroid (triamcinolone) and lidocaine, sham lavage plus the steroid and lidocaine, or sham lavage with the lidocaine but no steroid, in accordance to Stefan Moosmayer, MD, PhD, of Martina Hansens Clinic in Gjettum, Norway, and colleagues.

Most secondary outcomes, including affected person-reported trouble and characteristic, had been moreover equivalent when participants had been evaluated at 4 months and past, the community reported in The BMJ. The finest aspect of full of life treatment that looked to sign a attend used to be the steroid injection, and that used to be rapid-lived: patients within the two teams receiving triamcinolone reported much less trouble at weeks 2 and 6, versus sham-plus-lidocaine-only, but not at subsequent evaluations.

Calcific tendinopathy results from deposits of calcium hydroxyapatite gathering inner shoulder joint tendons. Ultrasound-guided saline lavage is supposed to dissolve and flush them away. “Several cohort experiences hold reported appropriate results with the formulation, but experiences with an ample preserve an eye on community are lacking,” Moosmayer and colleagues explained.

Theirs is merely the most up-to-date rigorous peek to forged doubt on a general orthopedic procedure. Hundreds of these, much like hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis and spinal manipulation for decrease serve trouble, hold a wealth of anecdotal and observational proof backing them up — but when examined in sham-controlled trials, the advantages hold looked more unsure. More and more it looks that many such therapies count totally on the placebo cease for attend (which, it ought to be acknowledged, silent represents scientific relief for the affected person).

With the unique peek, you must present that every participants had been moreover suggested to apply a home advise program, which, to the extent that it used to be therapeutic, might per chance also merely hold helped equalize outcomes. Using lidocaine as the “sham” treatment might per chance also moreover lift questions as as to if or not it used to be more full of life than a placebo wants to be. (Such questions adopted a landmark 2009 trial of vertebroplasty for osteoporotic compression fractures, which came one day of no attend when compared with lidocaine injections supposed to aid as a sham.)

Authors of an editorial accompanying the shoulder lavage trial, noting a range of limitations within the peek, cautioned that it might per chance maybe maybe be “untimely” to enact “that ultrasound guided lavage or subacromial corticosteroid injection no longer has a job in treating calcific tendinopathy of the shoulder.”

Slightly, wrote David M. Robinson, MD, and three colleagues at Harvard Medical College in Boston, “these new findings notify discussions with patients and provide some reassurance to those with a equivalent, long symptomatic direction that time will aid and corticosteroids might per chance also merely facilitate rapid term trouble relief. Lavage looks to be overused and is doubtlessly not as effective as we notion, and higher affected person selection criteria are wanted.”

Appreciate Significant functions

Moosmayer and colleagues enrolled 220 patients viewed at six hospitals in Norway and Sweden for calcific tendinopathy. Eligibility criteria integrated an age of no decrease than 30, 3 or more months of shoulder trouble, x-rays and ultrasonography that confirmed calcific deposits, and positive tests for impingement. Patients with other instances or deformities that can even cause shoulder trouble had been excluded, as had been those for whom triamcinolone or lidocaine had been contraindicated.

About two-thirds of patients had been females, and mean age used to be 50. Symptom duration averaged fairly decrease than 3 years. Most had received some compose of treatment already, much like painkillers and physiotherapy and/or steroid injections. Prior surgical treatment used to be an exclusion criterion. OSS rankings at baseline averaged about 30.

Participants had been randomized 1:1 amongst the three treatment regimens:

  • Active saline lavage plus subacromial injection with 20-mg triamcinolone acetonide and 9 mL of 1% lidocaine hydrochloride
  • Sham lavage (the lavage procedure used to be mimicked for five minutes but without saline flushing) plus the similar doses of triamcinolone and lidocaine as within the first community
  • Sham lavage plus subacromial injection of 10 mL of lidocaine, no triamcinolone

Participants had been evaluated at weeks 2 and 6 and then at months 4 (major endpoint), 8, 12, and 24 following the assigned procedures. Those with unacceptable lingering trouble might per chance also receive extra therapies, including repeat lavage, steroid injections, or surgical treatment, as determined between affected person and the treating doctor. About two-thirds of patients in every community did, in actuality, require additional treatment.

At month 4, OSS rankings improved in all three teams by roughly 6 functions, without a essential differences. Extra enhancements of plenty of functions had been viewed in later evaluations, moreover without a important between-community differences.

Identical patterns had been viewed for secondary measures including a shortened model of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire, as well to affected person-assessed trouble. The most grand exception used to be, as illustrious above, the teams receiving steroids reported more trouble relief within the first few weeks than the sham-plus-lidocaine community.

Longer-term outcomes had been equivalent between patients who required extra therapies after their preliminary assigned procedures and those that did not. Moosmayer and colleagues acknowledged this used to be “not dazzling, because secondary treatment measures mainly consisted of the similar interventions (lavage, steroid injection, physiotherapy on my own or mixed) that had been came one day of to be ineffective at 4 months in this peek.”

This finding, they added, might per chance also merely replicate the “pure direction of the placement,” which just isn’t continuously innovative and, in plenty of cases, resolves on its hold as calcium deposits are resorbed.

Robinson and colleagues pointed to participants’ almost 3-yr moderate symptom duration as a doubtlessly essential limitation. In patients facing the placement for that long, previous experiences hold suggested “more and more greater odds … of treatment failure for every extra month of signs,” they wrote. As a consequence, the unique peek’s pattern “might per chance also merely characterize a community with particularly recalcitrant signs, and outcomes might per chance also need been varied had lavage been executed earlier.”

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    John Gever used to be Managing Editor from 2014 to 2021; he is now a current contributor.


The peek used to be funded by the Bergesen Foundation, Aase Bye and Trygve J.B. Hoffs Foundation, Smith and Nephew, and the Medical Analysis Council of Southeast Sweden.

Authors declared they had no seemingly conflicts of passion past relationships with these organizations.

Major Provide


Provide Reference: Moosmayer S, et al “Ultrasound guided lavage with corticosteroid injection versus sham lavage with and without corticosteroid injection for calcific tendinopathy of shoulder: randomised double blinded multi-arm peek” BMJ 2023; DOI: 10.1136/bmj-2023-076447.

Secondary Provide


Provide Reference: Robinson DM, et al “Lavage therapies for calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy: Contemporary trial challenges unique treatment paradigms” BMJ 2023; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.p2248.

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