Treatment for calcinosis, a medical condition where deposits of calcium appear in the body's soft tissues, depends on the site of the deposit and the underlying cause. A doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation and the patient may need to see experts like rheumatologists and dermatologists. Options can include leaving the deposit alone, removing it surgically, or using medication to break up deposits and allow the body to eliminate them on its own.
People can develop calcinosis for a variety of reasons. Often, it is associated with another disease process, like scleroderma. A common form is calcinosis cutis, where the deposits form just under the skin. Sometimes, the calcium pushes through the layers of the skin, causing a milky fluid to leak from the site. Deposits can also form in organs and around other soft tissues, like the tendons around joints. Treatment depends on finding out why the growth is appearing.
Diagnostic steps can include medical imaging, bloodwork, and taking a detailed patient history. The doctor will look for risk factors like unusually high blood calcium and a family history of similar problems. One option may be treatment with corticosteroids, either oral, topical, or by injection. Some patients also benefit from the use of blood thinners like warfarin or can take other medications like colchicine. The best medication options depend on why the patient has calcinosis.
The patient may also need to make some dietary changes to adjust mineral intake. If the body does not have adequate supplies for making calcium deposits, the calcinosis should slow. Some patients require lithotripsy procedures to break up the growths so the body can pass them. Surgery can also be an option for calcinosis. One concern with surgical treatment is the worry that the trauma will contribute to a recurrence of the calcium formation, making the problem worse. A surgeon may recommend a small test procedure first to see how the patient responds.
Patients with calcinosis deposits may need medications to manage pain and inflammation, two potential problems with calcium deposits. It is also important to receive regular evaluations to see if growths are changing in shape or size, and to check for movement of the growths. Changes in the patient's condition may necessitate a shift in the approach to treatment in the interests of providing the patient with the best possible care. These could include more aggressive drugs or invasive procedures to address the problem.