Ultrasound-guided sclerosis of neovessels in patellar tendinopathy: a prospective study of 101 patients

Aasne Hoksrud, Thomas Torgalsen, Herlof Harstad, Simen Haugen, Thor Einar Andersen, May Arna Risberg, Roald Bahr
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2012, 40 (3): 542-7

BACKGROUND: A randomized controlled study has shown promising clinical results after treatment with sclerosing injections in a group of patients with patellar tendinopathy, but no study has investigated medium- or long-term outcome in a large and unselected group of patients.

PURPOSE: To investigate if sclerosing treatment would affect the level of patellar tendon pain and knee function after 24 months in a large group of patients with patellar tendinopathy.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: This prospective study recruited patients with a clinical diagnosis of jumper's knee and visible neovascularization corresponding to the painful area on power Doppler ultrasound. They received up to a maximum of 5 ultrasound-guided sclerosing injections using polidocanol at 4- to 6-week intervals. Knee pain and function were recorded using the Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment-Patella (VISA-P) score before treatment and 6, 12, and 24 months after the first injection.

RESULTS: In total, 101 patients (15 women and 86 men) with 120 tendons were included and given from 1 to 5 sclerosing injections (mean [SD], 2.5 [0.9]). The patients reported a significantly improved VISA-P score from baseline (mean, 39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 36-42) to the 24-month follow-up (mean, 65; 95% CI, 60-70) (range, 21-100; P < .001, paired t test). However, a VISA-P score of >95 points was reported in only 22 cases (20%), whereas 37 cases (36%) reported a VISA-P score of <50 at 24 months.

CONCLUSION: Sclerosing treatment with polidocanol resulted in a moderate improvement in knee function and reduced pain in a heterogeneous group of patients with patellar tendinopathy. Nevertheless, few of the patients were cured, and the majority still had reduced function and substantial pain after 24 months of follow-up.

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