Calcified shoulder (calcific tendinitis)
This ailment most frequently occurs in middle-aged patients (over 40 years old). Women are frequently affected. For quite unknown reasons (possibly reduction in blood circulation through the tendinous attachments), calcium deposits appear in the supraspinatus tendon layer (a part of the rotator cuff). At regular intervals, these deposits lead to inflammation of the mucous membrane and related massive pain. Over the course of the ailment, highly acute pain attacks occur in batches, apparently caused by a breakthrough of the calcium deposits into the mucous membrane. During the acute stage, pain medications and injections into the sliding space help. In many cases, the very painful phases recur, and an operation is necessary.
Arthroscopic removal of the calcium deposit is ordinarily possible with no problem. The sliding room under the shoulder roof is exposed, and parts of the inflamed mucous membrane are removed. Using small palpating instruments, the operating physician searches for the tendons of the rotator cuff. After locating the calcium deposit, he splits open the tendon and removes the calcium. The operation can be performed on an outpatient or a day hospital basis.