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Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendonitis Surgery

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that are crucial to shoulder and arm movement. Tendonitis can occur within the rotator cuff, which is an inflammation of these tendons that can cause pain and shoulder immobility. One type of tendon inflammation that can occur in the shoulder is rotator cuff calcific tendonitis, which is when calcium deposits irritate and inflame the tendons in the shoulder. Jonathan L. Glashow, MD orthopedic surgery and sports injury center offers rotator cuff calcific tendonitis surgery at our facility in Miami, FL.

The exact cause of calcific tendonitis is not known. If can occur in any tendon but it most commonly occurs in the rotator cuff. Aging is a factor – it is more common in people between the ages of 40 and 60. Women are slightly more likely to have this painful shoulder condition than men. The condition occurs when the cells in the tendons release calcium into the tendon. There are multiple phases, from the pre-calcification phase to the calcification and post-calcification, which can occur over several weeks or longer.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendonitis

During the pre-calcification and first stage of calcification, patients may not experience any symptoms. When calcium is first released, it is a chalk-like substance that does not cause inflammation or pain. The second phase of calcification turns the calcium deposits into a paste, which does cause inflammation and pain. This phase can last up to four weeks or longer, causing the following symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of shoulder pain
  • Intense shoulder pain that disrupts sleep
  • Reduced range of motion of shoulder and arm
  • Severe pain when moving the shoulder

Patients with this condition can seek non-surgical treatments for pain relief. This may include injection therapy, needling, physical therapy and other treatments that offer relief. When conservative treatments are not effective, surgery may be recommended to remove the calcium deposits.

About 10% of patients that have rotator cuff calcific tendonitis may need surgery. If you have severe shoulder pain, contact the office of Jonathan L. Glashow, MD to schedule an appointment for diagnosis and treatment options. Call our center in Miami, FL, to book your exam.

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