Original research| Volume 98, ISSUE 5, P881-887, May 2017

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Relation Between Subacromial Bursitis on Ultrasonography and Efficacy of Subacromial Corticosteroid Injection in Rotator Cuff Disease: A Prospective Comparison Study

Published:December 26, 2016DOI:



      To evaluate the correlations between subacromial bursitis (bursal thickening and effusion) on ultrasonography and its response to subacromial corticosteroid injection in patients with rotator cuff disease.


      Prospective, longitudinal comparison study.


      University-affiliated tertiary care hospital.


      Patients with rotator cuff disease (N=69) were classified into 3 groups based on ultrasonographic findings; (1) normative bursa group (group 1, n=23): bursa and effusion thickness <1mm; (2) bursa thickening group (group 2, n=22): bursa thickness >2mm and effusion thickness <1mm; and (3) bursa effusion group (group 3, n=24): bursa thickness <1mm and effusion thickness >2mm.


      A single subacromial injection with 20mg of triamcinolone acetonide.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Visual analog scale (VAS) of shoulder pain, Shoulder Disability Questionnaire (SDQ), angles of active shoulder range of motion (flexion, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation), and bursa and effusion thickness at pre- and posttreatment at week 8.


      There were no significant differences between the 3 groups in demographic characteristics pretreatment. Groups 2 and 3 showed a significant difference compared with group 1 in changes on the VAS and abduction; group 3 showed a significant difference compared with group 1 in changes of the SDQ, internal rotation, and external rotation; and all groups showed significant differences when compared with each other (groups 1 and 3, 2 and 3, and 1 and 2) in changes of thickness.


      A patient with ultrasonographic observation of subacromial bursitis, instead of normative bursa, can expect better outcome with subacromial corticosteroid injection. Therefore, we recommend a careful selection of patients using ultrasonography prior to injection.


      List of abbreviations:

      SDQ (Shoulder Disability Questionnaire), VAS (visual analog scale)
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