Effects of ultrasound-guided suprascapular nerve pulsed radiofrequency on chronic shoulder pain

Tolga Ergonenc, Serbulent Gokhan Beyaz


Aim: Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) therapy has become increasingly popular in the treatment of chronic shoulder pain due to its long duration of action and non-destructive method. The aim of the study was to reveal the effects of PRF therapy of the suprascapular nerve (SSN) under ultrasound guidance (UG) in patients with chronic shoulder pain on both shoulder pain and function.

Material and methods: This study included 74 patients diagnosed with at least one of the following: adhesive capsulitis, rotator cuff syndrome and impingement syndrome of shoulder. The PRF therapy of the SSN under UG was performed in those patients with a reduction of 50% or more Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score and those that reported healing in the active range of motion (AROM) in the diagnostic SSN block. The resting, motion and sleeping shoulder pain assessments of the patients were done with VAS score. The shoulder joint function was assessed with the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) questionnaire and the AROM of the joint was measured using a goniometer.

Results: In 70 of the 74 patients a 50% or more reduction was found in the VAS score with diagnostic SSN block. After the PRF therapy of the SSN, the 15th
day, 1st month, 3rd month, and 6th month follow-up VAS averages, SPADI averages and the flexion, internal rotation, external rotation, and abduction values were statistically significantly lower than the baseline values (p<0.05).

Conclusion: This study is the largest series in the literature evaluating the efficacy of PRF therapy of the SSN under UG and has shown that pain can
be controlled quickly, for a long period of time, using ultrasound guided PRF therapy of the SSN in chronic shoulder pain.


Adhesive capsulitis; rotator cuff syndrome; impingement syndrome; chronic shoulder pain; suprascapular nerve; pulsed radiofrequency

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-1543


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