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Rotator cuff repair: challenges and solutions

Authors Amini M, Ricchetti E, Iannotti J, Derwin K

Received 1 April 2015

Accepted for publication 6 May 2015

Published 9 July 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 57—69

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/ORR.S52851

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Clark Hung


Michael H Amini,1 Eric T Ricchetti,1 Joseph P Iannotti,1 Kathleen A Derwin2

1Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA; 2Department of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, OH, USA

Abstract: Each year, 250,000 rotator cuff repairs are performed in the United States at a cost of $3 billion. Despite advancements in repair techniques and rehabilitation, 20%–70% of repairs continue to undergo structural failure; however, there is a poor correlation between clinical and structural outcomes, both before and after surgery. "Failure in continuity", or retraction of the repair site without a structural defect, is likely a common phenomenon after rotator cuff repair, and this retraction of the myotendinous unit and interposing scar tissue may be one explanation for the discordance between clinical and structural outcomes. Scaffolds, both synthetic and biologic, have shown promise in both augmentation of repairs and interposition of irreparable tears, but most studies are small retrospective case series without control groups. Future efforts will need to determine the ideal indications for use, methods of application, and comparative effectiveness between the devices. Platelet-rich plasma also has potential to improve rotator cuff healing, but current limitations include the significant variation in preparation methods, biologic makeup, and application methods. Future work may help us understand whether application of platelet-rich plasma and its growth factors should be done at the time of surgery or later during a more advanced stage of healing. Regardless of the device or technique, mechanical and/or biologic augmentation of rotator cuff repairs requires the surgeon to be technically proficient in its use and aware of its associated increased operative time and cost. In order to justify the use of these technologies and their associated incremental cost, we must demonstrate efficacy in improving both clinical and structural outcomes.

Keywords: rotator cuff, repair, tear, augmentation, scaffold, biologic, PRP

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