Your rotator cuff consists of a group of muscles and tendons that hold the ball (head) of your upper arm bone (humerus) in your shoulder socket. Besides keeping your shoulder stable, a healthy rotator cuff allows you to lift and rotate your arm with a full range of motion.
Unfortunately, rotator cuff tears are one of the most common shoulder injuries. While some of these injuries are caused by acute, excessive strain, or accidental fall, most rotator cuff tears result from age-related degenerative changes or normal “wear and tear.”
When there’s a tear in your rotator cuff tendon, it’s no longer fully attached to the head of the humerus. Left untreated, it can become bigger, more painful over time, and cause a decrease in function.
Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery has long been the gold-standard treatment for acute, full-thickness tears. It’s also the conventional solution for chronic, long-standing tears that haven’t improved with conservative measures like rest, physical therapy, cortisone injections, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
But while traditional arthroscopic surgery is highly effective for repairing rotator cuff tears, it’s not always successful at keeping them repaired as time goes on. In fact, rotator cuff re-tears are common, especially as the affected tissues age.
The “Bio Cuff Repair” using CuffMend is an innovative new surgical and augmentation technique that aims to take rotator cuff repair to a whole new level. Instead of just stitching the damaged tendons back onto the bone and waiting for them to heal properly, this procedure uses a dermal allograft to strengthen the tendon-bone connection and promote optimal healing.
During a “Bio Cuff Repair” CuffMend procedure, Dr. Kovack uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to secure a soft tissue graft or a dermal allograft over the damaged area. The “Bio Cuff Repair” procedure can be done on its own to repair a rotator cuff tear, or it can be used to augment or enhance a standard repair.
Once it’s in place, the dermal allograft adds over 60% strength initially to the repair, according to research studies with a 2mm dermal allograft. Healing rates increase by at least 50%, and re-tear rates decrease by over 50%, compared to rotator cuff repairs without it.
The graft heals to the rotator cuff tissue adding long-term strength and integrity to the tissue. This translates to less pain after surgery, faster recovery, and a much less chance for re-tear in the future!
With other graft procedures, sometimes patients have to go back to surgery to have the scar tissue released. This has not been seen with dermal allograft used with the “Bio Cuff Repair”.
Research shows that when a 2mm dermal allograft is part of conventional arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery, the initial strength of the repair is 60% greater than it would have been without the implant. The CuffMend technique is also associated with substantially increased healing rates and better functional outcomes across the board.
All of this translates to less pain, a faster recovery, and a much lower risk of injury recurrence in the future. Dr. Kovack is one of only a few shoulder surgery specialists currently using this advanced approach with outstanding results.
If you’ve been living with an unresolved rotator cuff injury, the CuffMend procedure may be an ideal solution. To learn more, call Thomas Joseph Kovack, DO, today, or book an appointment online any time.
Arthroscopic "Bio Cuff Repair" augmented with the CuffMend dermal allograft. Second look pics 6 months after surgery show complete healing of the dermal allograft to the repair site with blood vessel incorporation.
Rotator cuff tear
After repair with suture and anchors
Augmentation of the repair with the CuffMend dermal allograft augmentation
Second look 6 months post op shows dermal allograft completely healed to the rotator cuff and also vascularized