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Stem Cells to Lead to Healing of Tendons and Lower the Risk of Retears in Rotator Cuff Operations

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Published on : Mar 30, 2015

While conducting a rotator cuff operation when an injection comprising the stem cells of bone marrow is used in a patient, it leads to greater tendon durability and better healing. On an annual basis, the U.S. reports close to 2 million cases of rotator cuff surgery. This surgery basically aims at re-attaching the shoulder tendon with the top part of the bone of the upper arm (also known as the humerus). 

Tears in rotator cuffs can take place when a person tries to lift a heavy object or when suddenly a person falls. But most of the cases of such tears is because of overuse and age related factors. In September 2014, there was a study carried out in France which involved ninety patients who had to undergo rotator cuff operations. The research group made two main groups which were on an equal level and were based on factors such as: dominate shoulder, age, gender, size of the cuff tear, and the location of the tendon rupture. 

About 45 patients from the patient pool were given injections of MSCs (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) and BMC (Bone Marrow Concentrate) and all these 45 patients either had the respective rotator cuffs reattached or repaired. For two years, every month images of the patient sonography was obtained.  Moreover, the MRI images of the shoulders of patients was attained which covered a period of 3 to 6 months post surgery, after that a year, the 2 years, and then finally a period of ten years. 

After half a year, almost all the patients who had received the MSC injection had tendons that had completely healed as against 67% of patients who were not given the MSCs. When the concentrate of the bone marrow was used there was further prevention of retears and ruptures. Ten years from the time of surgery the rotator cuffs in almost 87% of the MSC patients was found to have remained intact. 

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