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Radial Shockwave Therapy and High Frequency Laser
Combined Treatment in Elbow Tendinopathies
Carlos Leal, Diana Lemus, Jenny Juschten
Institution: Fenway Medical; Bosque University; Bogota, Colombia
Device and producing company: BTL5000 POWER; BTL HILT UNIT; ORTHOGOLD
100 / MTS
Introduction: The treatment of elbow tendinopathies with radial pressure waves
(RSWT) has showed good and excellent results in over 75% of the cases in most of the
series in the literature. In the past ten years we have used a two-session RSWT protocol
with 2000 therapeutic radial shockwaves above 2 BAR, preceded by 2000 analgesic
shockwaves with high number of repetitions per second, followed by another analgesic
2000 shockwaves. This protocol has allowed us to have 81% success rate in the
treatment of chronic elbow tendinopathies. Our protocol includes a follow up visit two
weeks after the final SWT session. If the patient reports a VAS pain scale improvement
lower than 50%, we proceed to a third and final session, usually with a higher power
focused device. Our group has been working in the past year with High Intensity Laser
Therapy (HILT) for acute musculoskeletal painful conditions with excellent results. We
hypothesize that the use of HILT may have a significant control of pain if combined with
RSWT. In this study we compare the outcome of a combined therapy of RSWT and
HILT on the third session of Focused Shockwaves in patients that did not improve pain
over 50% in their follow up evaluation.
Methods: We performed a case control study on 21 patients diagnosed for chronic
lateral epicondyle elbow tendinopathy, that did not improve pain control over 50% in the
VAS scale on the follow up visit two weeks after the second RSWT session. We had 14
female and 7 male subjects with and average age of 35.5 y/o (19-52 y/o). They were
divided in two groups of 10 and 11 patients. The two groups were statistically similar.
They all signed an informed consent. In all cases we used for the first two sessions a
Radial SWT generator (BTL 5000 Power – BTL Industries Checz Rep). All subjects were
tested and evaluated by ISMST & ONLAT certified specialists. In the Cases Group
(RSWT+HILT ) we applied a progressive protocol using 200 shocks on 15 Hz, 200
shocks on 10 Hz and 200 shocks on 5 Hz, plus the application of 2500 laser shots over
the elbow epicondyle painful region. We used a HILT unit (BTL Industries Checz Rep).
The laser treatment was then repeated every 4 days in four more sessions. In the
Control Group (RSWT+FSWT) we used a our regular protocol of 1000 focused
shockwaves using an electrohydraulic device ( MTS Orthogold – OE155 – soft focused
applicator - MTS Medical – Konstanz, Germany). We followed up the patients for four
months, with a monthly record of VAS pain score, the Roles and Maudsley scale, and a
record for any adverse effects. All data was recorded and analyzed using a One-Way
ANOVA, and the P value was based in <0.01. The study was done independently with
no financial or material support from the manufacturers of the mentioned devices.
Results: Both the cases group and the control group patients improved pain and
function in the four-month follow up. The RSWT+HILT treated patients had a 71% VAS
pain reduction after 5 months, as compared with a 70% in the RSWT+FSWT control
group. The Roles and Maudsley scores showed good and excellent results in 70% of the
cases group patients, as compared with 73% in the control group. 9/11 patients
40 Abstract 37improved 25%-50% their pain in the four-month follow up, and 2/11 improved over 50%
in the cases group. The control group had similar results, with 7/10 patients that
improved 25%-50% and 3/10 over 50%. All reported data in pain control, functional
score and improvement rates were not statistically significant. No patients showed
increase in pain or any complications.
Discussion: The use of HILT has proven efficacy and safety in pain control of
musculoskeletal lesions, and it´s regenerative power is still under research. Shockwave
medicine has proven to be a great tool in tissue regeneration, neovasculogenesis and
healing, but pain control is still a short and long-term issue. This study shows a possible
use of the best of both technologies in benefit of our tendinopathy patients. We do have
better results in our cases with RSWT that did not require a third session, with a 81%
pain control, as compared with the 71% and 70% of the patients included in this study,
who were the poor-results individuals who required a third treatment session. In future
studies we will compare primary patients using RSWT, FSWT and combined
Conclusion: The use of a combined therapy of radial shockwaves and high intensity
laser therapy showed similar results as the use of focused shockwaves in the recurrent
pain after a primary shockwave treatment for tennis elbow
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