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PM R. 2013 Mar;5(3):242-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

A simple technique to restore needle patency during percutaneous lavage and aspiration of calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy.

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Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy caused by symptomatic calcium hydroxyapatite crystal deposition is a well-established cause of shoulder pain. In refractory or acutely symptomatic cases, sonographically guided percutaneous lavage and aspiration can significantly reduce pain in approximately 60%-92% of cases. Although the complication rate of sonographically guided percutaneous lavage and aspiration is apparently low, needle clogging attributable to impacted calcific debris has been described by several authors and in our experience can occur in daily practice. Traditionally, an inability to relieve the obstruction via needle repositioning or increased syringe plunger pressure has required needle removal and replacement. In this article, we outline a simple technique that can be used to restore patency of the obstructed lavage needle without necessitating needle removal and replacement.

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