Every time you throw a ball, swing a golf club, reach for a jar on a shelf, or cradle a baby, you can thank your rotator cuff. This nest of tendons connecting your arm bone to your shoulder socket is a functional marvel, but it’s also prone to tearing and difficult to surgically repair. Now, a team of researchers from UConn Health has found a way to regenerate rotator cuff tendons after they’re torn.
Rotator cuff problems are common, with about 2 million people afflicted and about 300,000 rotator cuff repair surgeries every year in the U.S. Surgeons have many techniques to reconnect the tendon to the bone. The problem is that often they don’t stay reconnected.
“Up to 60 percent of the time after surgery, there’s a re-rupture,” says Dr. Cato Laurencin, Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UConn Health. And that means more surgery, or learning to live with reduced mobility in the joint. Orthopaedic surgeons struggle with this constantly. They would love to have a better way.