Aim of Study: To evaluate the efficacy of pulsed radio-frequency ablation to the suprascapular nerve in patients with chronic shoulder pain secondary to cuff tear arthropathy.

Methods: Twelve patients with chronic shoulder pain secondary to cuff tear arthropathy were recruited following ethics approval. Mean age 68 yrs (60–83 yrs). The suprascapular notch was identified under image intensifier and the suprascapular nerve lesioned with pulsed radiofrequency ablation for 120 seconds. Patients were assessed with the Oxford and Constant Shoulder scores, Visual Analogue pain score and sleep score pre, 3 and 6 months post procedure. Statistical analysis was undertaken using the Friedman test (non parametric analysis of variance).

Results: Ten patients had an improvement in the visual analogue pain score and Constant score, 11 in the Oxford score and all an improvement in sleep pattern.

Conclusions: Shoulder pain was reduced in 10 out 12 patients up to 6 months post procedure. This procedure may be a useful adjunct in elderly patients with painful cuff tear arthropathy who are not suitable for surgery.


  • The abstracts were prepared by David Stanley. Correspondence should be addressed to him c/o British Orthopaedic Association, Royal College of Surgeons, 35–43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PN.