Rotator cuff tears are some of the most common sources of shoulder pain. When a tear goes all the way through the tendon or muscle, the treatment path is usually obvious: surgery to stitch the rotator cuff back together. A partial thickness rotator cuff tear, however, is not always treated with surgery.
“Nonoperative methods of treatment like physical therapy are how most orthopedists treat partial rotator cuff tears,” says Eric Black, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Medical Group Orthopedics. “However, it can take quite a while for the tear to become less symptomatic and to increase patients’ function.”
“Partial rotator cuff tears have the tendency to get bigger over time,” adds David Abrutyn, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert at Summit Medical Group Orthopedics. “As with most conditions, early intervention is key.” Typically, however, for larger partial thickness rotator cuff tears, surgery may be required which involves placing stitches to repair the rotator cuff down to the bone. The healing process in this surgery can take months to complete.
Now, however, surgeons have a new option for early treatment of partial thickness rotator cuff tears: the Regeneten® Bioinductive Implant.
What Is Regeneten?
The Regeneten Bioinductive Implant is a thin collagen sheet that goes over a torn rotator cuff and promotes the creation of new tissue. It is made of collagen and is about the size and shape of a postage stamp. The implant covers the rotator cuff tear and can be used in conjunction with or instead of traditional rotator cuff repair techniques.
The Regeneten implant is inserted on the rotator cuff tear arthroscopically. It then acts as a scaffold that allows new tendon-like tissue to grow over the tear. Over the next six months, it reabsorbs into the body, leaving behind nothing but new, strong connective tissue.
“Using the Regeneten implant allows for faster healing and easier rehabilitation,” says Matthew Garberina, MD, a shoulder and elbow specialist at Summit Medical Group Orthopedics.
Who Is a Candidate for Regeneten?
The Regeneten Bioinductive Implant can be used in place of traditional rotator cuff repair in people who have a partial thickness rotator cuff tear. It can also be used in conjunction with surgical repair of full tears, and it can be used as part of treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis and shoulder impingement syndrome.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
One big attraction of the Regeneten implant is a shorter recovery time. After traditional rotator cuff repair, patients can expect to have the affected arm in a sling for four to six weeks. However, results of a small study of Regeneten use in partial thickness rotator cuff tears showed the time in sling dropped to an average of 23 days. After a year, the tendon thickness had increased by 2 millimeters. The majority of patients in the study showed an improvement in their tear after one year.
Summit Medical Group Orthopedics incorporates the most cutting-edge surgical treatments and latest techniques. If you have a rotator cuff tear and are seeking treatment options, request an appointment to see if the Regeneten Bioinductive Implant is right for you.