Prolotherapy for Refractory Rotator Cuff Disease: Retrospective Case-Control Study of 1-Year Follow-Up.

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

PubMedID: 26254952

Lee DH, Kwack KS, Rah UW, Yoon SH. Prolotherapy for Refractory Rotator Cuff Disease: Retrospective Case-Control Study of 1-Year Follow-Up. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015;96(11):2027-32.
OBJECTIVE
To determine the efficacy of prolotherapy for refractory rotator cuff disease.

DESIGN
Retrospective case-control study.

SETTING
University-affiliated tertiary care hospital.

PARTICIPANTS
Patients with nontraumatic refractory rotator cuff disease (N=151) who were unresponsive to 3 months of aggressive conservative treatment. Of the patients, 63 received prolotherapies with 16.5% dextrose 10-ml solution (treatment group), and 63 continued conservative treatment (control group).

INTERVENTIONS
Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Visual analog scale (VAS) score of the average shoulder pain level for the past 1 week, Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) score, isometric strength of the shoulder abductor, active range of motion (AROM) of the shoulder, maximal tear size on ultrasonography, and number of analgesic ingestions per day.

RESULTS
Over 1-year follow-up, 57 patients in the treatment group and 53 in the control group were analyzed. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in age, sex, shoulder dominance, duration of symptoms, and ultrasonographic findings at pretreatment. The average number of injections in the treatment group is 4.8±1.3. Compared with the control group, VAS score, SPADI score, isometric strength of shoulder abductor, and shoulder AROM of flexion, abduction, and external rotation showed significant improvement in the treatment group. There were no adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS
To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the efficacy of prolotherapy in rotator cuff disease. Prolotherapy showed improvement in pain, disability, isometric strength, and shoulder AROM in patients with refractory chronic rotator cuff disease. The results suggest positive outcomes, but one should still take caution in directly interpreting it as an effective treatment option, considering the limitations of this nonrandomized retrospective study. To show the efficacy of prolotherapy, further studies on prospective randomized controlled trials will be required.