Purpose: Although ultrasound (US)-guided subacromial injection has shown increased accuracy in needle placement, whether US-guided injection produces better clinical outcome is still controversial. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the efficacy of subacromial corticosteroid injection under US guidance with palpation-guided subacromial injection in patients with chronic subacromial bursitis.
Methods: Patients with chronic subacromial bursitis were randomized to a US-guided injection group and a palpation-guided injection group. The subjects in each group were injected with a mixture of 0.5 mL dexamethasone suspension and 3 mL lidocaine into the subacromial bursa. The primary outcome measures were the visual analog scale for pain and active and passive ranges of motion of the affected shoulder. Secondary outcome measures were the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index, the Shoulder Disability Questionnaire, and the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). The primary outcome measures were evaluated before, immediately, 1 wk, and 1 month after the injection; the secondary outcome measures were evaluated before, 1 wk, and 1 month after the injection.
Results: Of the 145 subjects screened, 46 in each group completed the study. Significantly greater improvement in passive shoulder abduction and in physical functioning and vitality scores on the SF-36 were observed in the US-guided group. The pre- and postinjection within-group comparison revealed significant improvement in the visual analog scale for pain and range of motion, as well as in the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index, Shoulder Disability Questionnaire, and SF-36 scores, in both groups.
Conclusions: The US-guided subacromial injection technique produced significantly greater improvements in passive shoulder abduction and in some items of the SF-36. US is effective in guiding the needle into the subacromial bursa in patients with chronic subacromial bursitis.