Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 3856–3863 | Cite as

Radiofrequency microtenotomy: a promising method for treatment of rotator cuff tendinopathy

  • Zeiad Al-Ani
  • Eivind Wergeland Jacobsen
  • Jüri-Toomas Kartus
  • Gunnar Knutsen
  • Khaled MeknasEmail author



Subacromial pain syndrome is a common disorder. Arthroscopic subacromial decompression is currently the preferred treatment method. Bipolar radiofrequency microtenotomy has shown promising results in treating tendinosis. In this study, the authors compare the results after arthroscopic acromioplasty with bipolar radiofrequency microtenotomy for patients with subacromial pain syndrome.


A total of 27 patients, with subacromial pain syndrome, were followed for 2 years. There were 14 patients in the arthroscopic acromioplasty group and 13 patients in the radiofrequency microtenotomy group. Clinical outcome data included pain reported using a visual analog scale, Constant score, and strength. Magnetic resonance imaging of the affected shoulder was performed before and 2 years after intervention for an evaluation of the tendinosis grade.


All patients attended the final follow-up 2 years after intervention. No significant differences were found at baseline between the groups. Pain measured by the visual analog scale revealed a significant reduction in both groups at 12 weeks, 6 months and 2 years compared with baseline. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of visual analog scale, Constant score, or strength. The magnetic resonance imaging revealed a significant improvement in the tendinosis score in both groups, without any significant difference between the groups.


In this prospective randomized study, the clinical assessments revealed a significant improvement in terms of the visual analog scale, strength, Constant score, and tendinosis score 2 years after intervention with either arthroscopic acromioplasty or radiofrequency microtenotomy in patients with subacromial pain syndrome. However, no significant differences were found between the groups. This study reveals that there are surgical options other than acromioplasty in patients with SAPS.

Level of evidence



Subacromial pain syndrome Radiofrequency microtenotomy Acromioplasty 



The authors thank the Clinical Research Department at the University Hospital of North Norway for helping with randomization of the study groups. The authors thank the “Raskere Tilbake” (Quick Return) section at the Orthopedic Department, University Hospital of North Norway for assisting with organizing the study and the recruitment of patients. We are also thankful to Allan Didriksen MD, Hanne Rasmussen MD, and Øyvind Lyngedal RPT at the Orthopedic Department, University Hospital of North Norway for blinded control assessments of the patients.


No sources of funding to declare.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Kartus reports personal fees from Linvatec Sweden, outside the submitted work; and Associate editor Journal of arthroscopy. No Conflict of interest for the other authors.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the Regional Ethical Committee (no 211/1133).


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital North NorwayTromsöNorway
  2. 2.Department of OrthopedicsUniversity Hospital North NorwayTromsöNorway
  3. 3.Orthopedics Research Group, Institute of Clinical MedicineThe Arctic University of NorwayTromsöNorway
  4. 4.Department of OrthopedicsNU-Hospital Group, University of GothenburgTrollhättanSweden

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