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Intramuscular migration of calcium hydroxyapatite crystal deposits involving the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder: report of 11 patients



The intent of the study is to describe an unusual pattern of intramuscular migration of calcific deposits related to hydroxyapatite deposition disease (HADD) involving the rotator cuff, to illustrate the characteristic imaging features of this phenomenon, and to discuss the clinical significance of such migration.

Materials and methods

A series of cases of intramuscular accumulation of calcium hydroxyapatite crystals collected over a 7-year period at multiple hospitals within the same academic institution were retrospectively reviewed.


The patient group was composed of seven men and four women, ranging in age from 51 to 79 years, with a mean age of 63 years. All subjects presented with acute shoulder pain. The majority of subjects reported the spontaneous onset of the symptoms (64%), while others reported weight lifting (27%) and a fall on the arm (9%) as the mechanisms of injury. The right shoulder was affected in 73% of the subjects. The supraspinatus was the most commonly affected muscle (82%), followed by the infraspinatus muscle (36%).


Knowledge of the imaging features of intramuscular migration of hydroxyapatite deposits is important in order to avoid the erroneous diagnosis of other causes of muscle edema and inflammation such as myotendinous injury, myositis, subacute denervation, and neoplasm.

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