As an orthopedic surgeon I see a variety of injuries both on the job, on the field and over the weekend. When a patient comes in with shoulder pain and they are over the age of 40 one of the first things that comes to mind is a torn rotator cuff tendon. In past blogs I have discussed the rotator cuff.
In partial rotator cuff tears and some full thickness tears, physical therapy is the treatment of choice. However, in those patients with demanding jobs, continued shoulder pain and weakness then surgery is the best option. Up until recently when rotator cuff repairs were done we would reattach the tendon back to the bone. In vertical type tears we sew the torn ends together. The MRI is essential in helping to plan the surgery. Up to 35 % of repaired tendons fail due to the tissue being weak. Many times we are not able to predict preoperatively if the tendon tissue strength will allow adequate healing. We sometimes find the tendon to be thin and weak at the time of surgery.
Recently a new technique and material has been released called CuffMend. It is a patch made from dermal allograft which is harvested from cadaver tissue. The graft is sterilized so that it is safe to use and maintain its strength. The unique nature and technique of CuffMend is that it acts like a patch to strengthen the underlying tear. CuffMend can be used to enhance the healing of a partial thickness tear as well as to augment a complete thickness tear. The patch is inserted arthroscopically and secured so that no additional incision is required. The patch provides mechanical strength and healing to the rotator cuff.