A comparative study of the identification of rotator cuff calcifications: X-ray versus ultrasound

  • E Pavlova
  • Z Oschman
  • DCJ van Rensburg
  • CC Grant
  • PS Wood
Keywords: Calcifications, rotator cuff, x-ray, ultrasound, calcifying tendinopathy

Abstract

A deposit of calcium in the rotator cuff tendons, also known as calcifying tendinopathy, is a common condition. Calcifications are often associated with significant pain and restriction of shoulder movement. The hypothesis of this retrospective, descriptive study is that ultrasound is more sensitive to detect calcifications in the rotator cuff than x-rays. The study was done on the records of 60 patients aged between 30 and 72 years of age. The records were selected using a convenient sample from the archives of the Radiology Department of a private hospital. Calcifications were detected with x-rays in the rotator cuff of 10patientsin 7 of these patients the calcification was located in the supraspinatus tendon. With ultrasound calcifications were detected in 9 patients; in 6 of these patients the calcification was located in the supraspinatus tendon and in 3 patients in the infraspinatus tendon. This study indicated that calcifications in the rotator cuff were more often seen on x-ray examination than on ultrasound, though the difference was marginal.
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eISSN: 1117-4315