Calcium deposits within the tendons of the rotator cuff are common and usually asymptomatic. Symptomatic cases that do not respond to nonoperative measures need removal of the calcium deposits.

In this study, the results of arthroscopic removal of the calcium deposits within the rotator cuff, without rotator cuff repair, are evaluated after a minimum 7-year follow-up. This may help clarify whether rotator cuff repair in such cases is necessary for the relief of pain and good cuff function in the long run.

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Fifty-six patients with calcium deposits within the rotator cuff were included in this study. Fifty-four patients were managed by arthroscopic removal of the calcium deposits without rotator cuff repair.

The patients were followed up over a period of at least 7 years. At the final follow-up, all patients were able to return to their level of activity before the beginning of their complaint, with significant improvement in the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), and Constant scores. The UCLA score improved from a mean (SD) of 52.8 (7.5) to 95.0 (8.2) (P ≤ .001), whereas the ASES score improved from 57.2 (8.3) to 95.0 (8.2) (P ≤ .001). The Constant score improved from a mean (SD) of 63.3 (9.3) to 97.8 (6.2) (P ≤ .001). Only 3.7% of cases developed rotator cuff tears over the period of follow-up.

The results of this study indicate that arthroscopic removal of as much as possible of symptomatic calcium deposits of the rotator cuff is a safe and effective treatment when nonoperative methods fail.

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