Adult Stem Cell Treatment for Shoulder and Elbow Injuries
The rotator cuff consists of 4 tendons. Tendons are the cables that connect the muscles of our body to our bones. Interestingly, however, rotator cuff…….and the intimation of the word – “cuff” -which suggests and open shirt cuff link, while somewhat accurate, may be better described as a rotator “hood”, the tendons that cover the shoulder, the 4 of the rotator cuff tendons- supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor cover the shoulder as a hood that all the tendons are connected together.
Rotator cuff tears are very common in all people over the age of 60. Tears never heal, they progress to bigger size over time and while palliative treatment can help painful symptoms, the best treatment is to repair the tendon to the bone.
Dr. Bennett one of the pioneers of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair technicians has developed surgical techniques for the minimally invasive repair of these tendons, yet, furthermore he has identified new lesions in the rotator cuff anatomy, classified tear lesions and reported upon the outcomes of repair.
One item that Dr. Bennett has no control over is the biologic parameter….meaning the tendon must, despite surgical technique, have an affinity to grow back to the bone.
But he does! ………..the addition of certain biologic items from your own body accelerates healing and increases the chance that the tendon will reattach to bone. At Bennett Orthopedics and Sportsmedicine. Regenerating the Youth in You!, bone marrow derived stem cells are utilized. These progenitor(baby) undifferentiated cells are found throughout all of our bones. They are at higher concentrations in the spine and large pelvis bones, yet can be found in the thigh and upper arm bones.
Dr. Bennett prefers to take the additional time to harvest the cells from the pelvis, even when working on the shoulder or knee. He aspirates the bone marrow and it is centrifuged, concentrating the cells. He is able to create a gel patty with some other biologic agents. He then has incorporated it into the tendon repair site. The cell patty is also immersed in a platelet rich gel patty and finally a biologic glue created from your own blood is administered
He has also incorporated demineralized bone matrix and tri-calcium phosphate for bone defects. He has noticed that with this treatment, post-operative pain is diminished and rehab times are cut by 50 percent. In fact he has had the opportunity, over the years, of having treated his more than one of his patient’s shoulder with the same surgical procedure, years ago-when he was not incorporating these biologic agents, to operate on the same patient’s opposite shoulder with the exact procedure with biologic agents and his results confirming this observation of reducing rehab time by 50 percent.
Many studies have reported upon the healing rates following rotator cuff repair, the failure rates range from 20 to 90 percent.
Dr. Bennett does not typically perform follow-up MRI imaging but does use the ultrasound to view the repaired tendons following surgery at 3 and 6 weeks. He has found clinically that the tendons remain intact and that strength gains are seen earlier than he typically used to see when he was not using adult stem cells.
The cells themselves contribute to a better tendon. However, the transitional zone between the tendon and the bone can be a challenge. He has incorporated demineralized bone matrix into the stem cell patty in this area in an effort to aid healing. For bone cysts he has incorporated tri-calcium phosphate.
At this time Dr. Bennett has only utilized hematopoietic stem cells found in PRP that has a buffy coat to treat injuries in and around the elbow, like tennis elbow. For a more detailed discussion of his tennis elbow procedure, see Tenex and PRP.
Stem Cells For Shoulder Treatment