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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 May;38(5):727-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.01.024. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Radial extracorporeal pressure pulse therapy for the primary long bicipital tenosynovitis a prospective randomized controlled study.

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Orthopaedic Department, Medical College Affiliated Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Force, Tianjin, China.


Long bicipital tenosynovitis is regarded as one of the common causes of shoulder pain and dysfunction. The traditional therapeutic approach includes a variety of conservative treatments, but these treatments are not substantiated, owing to the lack of proven clinical efficacy. Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (rESWT) uses a pneumatically generated and radially propagating low-energy pressure pulse and has been clinically shown to be a new alternative form of treating refractory soft tissue inflammation. While treating patients suffering from long bicipital tenosynovitis, a randomized, controlled trial was conducted to analyze the effects of radial shock wave therapy on pain and function. Seventy-nine adults with long bicipital tenosynovitis were randomized to receive either active (1500 pulses, 8 Hz, 3 bars) or sham treatment through four sessions that were held once a week. All of these adults were assessed before treatment and at time intervals of 1, 3 and 12 months since the completion of the treatment. The outcomes were measured through the visual analogue scale (VAS) and L'Insalata shoulder questionnaire. Mean VAS in the rESWT group showed significant and sustained reduction from 5.67 ± 1.32 at baseline to 2.58 ± 1.49 at one month, 1.83 ± 1.25 at three months and 1.43 ± 0.94 at 12 months from baseline, whereas the sham group's mean VAS was 6.04 ± 0.97 before treatment and stabilized at 5.57 ± 0.84 at 12 months. Similar trends were found for the function scores. Mean scores were increased after rESWT from 60.57 ± 6.91 at baseline to 79.85 ± 6.59 at 1 month and 83.44 ± 5.21 at 12 months from baseline. Both pain and function scores showed significant differences between the two groups (p < 0.001). The rESWT group consisted of "invalid conservative treatment subgroup" and "none conservative treatment subgroup." Both groups showed good recovery and prognosis. Therefore, we recommend rESWT in treating primary long bicipital tenosynovitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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