Efficacy of tidal irrigation in Milwaukee shoulder syndrome

Oscar Epis, Roberto Caporali, Carlo A. Scirè, Eleonora Bruschi, Eleonora Bonacci, Carlomaurizio Montecucco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To assess the efficacy of tidal irrigation in patients with Milwaukee shoulder syndrome (MSS). Methods. Ten patients with clinical diagnosis of MSS underwent ultrasound examination and tidal irrigation followed by instillation of methylprednisolone and tranexamic acid. A single shoulder was treated in 9 cases; in one patient with bilateral shoulder involvement, both shoulders were treated at different times. Six patients had longlasting disease (Group A) unsuccessfully treated with repeated joint fluid aspirations and intraarticular corticosteroid injections. Four patients had recent-onset illness without radiologic damage but with clinical findings similar to classic MSS (Group B), not previously treated with corticosteroid injections with symptoms dating from 3 months or less. Clinical examination including evaluation of adverse events, range of motion, and pain score by a 100 mm horizontal visual analog scale was scheduled just before tidal irrigation and after 2 and 6 months following the procedure in all cases. Results. Short- and longterm safety was excellent in all patients. Group A patients experienced short-lived improvement so that tidal irrigation had to be repeated within 6 to 10 months. No further therapy was necessary in any of the Group B patients during a mean followup of 16.5 months (range 12-24) due to a persistent clinical improvement without clinically detectable joint effusion. Conclusion. Closed-needle joint irrigation is a minimally invasive procedure, which led to a significant improvement in both pain and active motion in patients with longstanding symptoms. Patients with recent-onset disease recovered completely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1550
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Apatite crystals
  • Milwaukee shoulder syndrome
  • Tidal irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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