Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Orthopedic Surgery


Dr. Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA


Rotator cuff disease represents the most common disability afflicting the upper extremity and is a severe cause of disability in young and elderly patients. Despite multiple surgical techniques to improve bone-to-bone healing, recurrent tearing of the rotator cuff is not infrequent. Postoperative rotator cuff tears occur in as little as 11% to as much as 94% of the rotator cuff repair surgeries, perhaps depending on the size of the tear and the level of tendon degeneration. Due to high retear rates after a rotator cuff reconstruction, there is great interest in biological and synthetic augmentation. The use of scaffolds in the treatment of rotator cuff tear continues to progress. A review of current literature supports the use of allograft and/or synthetic grafts for the repair of massive cuff tears to provide an excellent functional outcome. Using stem cells to biologically augment the rotator cuff reconstruction may have great potential since the cells can differentiate into different cell types that are important for the healing process. However, further studies are necessary to understand how to control stem cells safely and in a reparative way.


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