By Nick Tate
Injecting a patient’s bone marrow stem cells into the shoulder during rotator cuff surgery can significantly improve healing and tendon durability, according to a new study.
In findings presented today at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, French researchers said the technique not only helped speed healing of the rotator cuff tendons, but also prevented further tears.
Lead researcher Philippe Hernigou, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Paris, said “retears” are common after shoulder surgery — often requiring additional procedures. But the new stem cell technique significantly reduces that risk.
“Many patients undergoing rotator cuff repair surgery show advanced degeneration of the tendons, which are thinner and atrophic (more likely to degenerate), probably explaining why negative results are so often reported in the literature, with frequent post-operative complications, especially retear,” he noted.
“These retears were more frequently associated with the [conventional surgery] patients who were not treated with [stem cells].”