Barbotage (Tendon Calcification) Therapy

Treat tendon calcification pain and discomfort with Barbotage Therapy to dissolve and remove calcium that can build up on tendons – most commonly on the rotator cuff. Get the relief you need quick with our shorter wait times!

We Accept All Requisitions from Any Clinic

Purpose of Barbotage (Tendon Calcification) Therapy

Pain in your shoulder may be caused by pressure due to calcium build up around the rotator cuff leading to pinching of the tendons.

Barbotage or Tendon Calcification Therapy is a less invasive method used to dissolve and remove the calcium build up to alleviate the pressure and pain.

What to Expect During Your Exam

  • During your procedure, our radiologist will use ultrasound to find the area to be treated and inject a local anesthetic. Ultrasound will be used to pass a needle through the area to help remove the majority of the calcium in the tendon with the remainder being naturally absorbed by the body over time.
  • Afterwards, the radiologist will inject corticosteroid into the area around the tendon to prevent pain and inflammation once the local anesthetic wears off. The remainder of the calcium deposits are usually absorbed within 4 weeks after the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Barbotage or Tendon Calcification Therapy?

Ultrasound-guided Barbotage is used to dissolve and remove calcium deposits that can build up on tendons (calcific tendinosis), most commonly on the rotator cuff (shoulder).

Q. How long does it last?

Relief should last up to 6 months, although many patients report longer results as calcium would have to reaccumulate over time to recreate their initial symptoms.

Q. How many procedures are required to remove the calcium build-up?

With good technical success and a low-moderate burden of calcium, the remainder of any calcium should be naturally absorbed by your body in approximately 4 weeks after the procedure.

Q. Is a post-procedure visit required?

A post-procedure ultrasound and x-ray is recommended 4 weeks after the procedure to assess the outcome and to look for any residual bursitis. Afterwards, repeat intervention is only needed if symptoms return.

Q. What is the post-procedure care?

  • Sling for two days 
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Avoid lifting objects over 5 pounds 
  • Regular activity after 10 days

Q. Who is a good candidate for this procedure?

Any patient who has calcific tendonitis visible on radiography and ultrasound in the supraspinatus tendon (most common site). This procedure may be performed at other sites of calcific tendonitis but would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

How to Prepare for Your Exam

  • Please be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time to change and prepare for your examination.
  • Please note: if there is a chance that you are pregnant, the exam may not be possible. If pregnancy is suspected other options using ultrasound guidance may be considered by the Radiologist.
  • Continue to take all regular medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Please be aware that your doctor may need to prescribe medication changes prior to your procedure if you are on blood thinners.
  • If possible, do not take any pain medications on the day of your exam. This allows us to better assess your response to our treatment.
  • If your doctor has prescribed a medication for us to inject please call us as we can likely provide it to you directly.
  • Gowns are provided for your comfort. If you prefer to wear your own clothing and full undergarments, be advised that your clothing could be accidentally stained by disinfectant.
  • Once treatment is complete a staff member will ask that you remain in the waiting area for 10 minutes and will re-evaluate your pain level.
  • Please refrain from any heavy lifting or strenuous activities for at least 24 hours following your treatment, or as advised by your doctor.
  • Serious complications are extremely rare but can happen. It may be normal to experience some mildly increased pain and discomfort the day after your procedure. However, if you suffer steadily worsening pain, experience fever/chills or any sign of infection, develop new numbness or weakening in your limbs, or lose normal bladder/bowel control contact your doctor immediately. If your doctor is unavailable, proceed directly to the nearest hospital Emergency Department.
  • All procedures have the potential to affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Glenwood Radiology recommends that you arrange transportation to and from the exam.

How to Book Your Exam

  • Exams require a requisition form from your family physician.
  • You can book by phone by calling us during our regular business hours.
    West Edmonton: 780-705-9982
    Chappelle Crossing: 780-540-9066
    Spruce Grove: 587-461-2221
  • You can also conveniently book online.

Find a Family Physician in your area

  • If you do not have a family physician or need assistance with a requisition form or referral letter can help you find a family doctor accepting patients in your area.