Calcific tendonitis refers to a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff (calcific deposit). When calcium builds up in the tendon, it can cause a build up of pressure in the tendon, as well causing a chemical irritation. This leads to pain. The pain can be extremely intense. It is one of the worst pains in the shoulder.
In addition to the chemical irritation and presssure, the calcific (calcium) deposit reduces the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, as well as affecting the normal function of the rotator cuff.
The calcific deposit can be seen on plain x-rays, however ultrasound scan is better to find small calcific deposits which can be missed on x-rays. Ultrasound also makes it possible to assess the size of the deposit in all directions. The clinician can also see the blood vessels around the calcific deposit.
Treatment of calcific tendinitis involves:
Surgery is required if the pain is not controlled with the methods above and/or the pain is extremely severe, with night pain.
The goal of any surgery to reduce the effects of impingement, by increasing the amount of space between the acromion and the rotator cuff tendons, which will then allow for easier movement and less pain and inflammation. The calcium deposit is also debrided and released at the same time. The operation performed is Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression & Excision of the Calcific Deposit .