The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their associated tendons that helped to move the shoulder and keep the ball in the socket. The four muscles that compromise the rotator cuff include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The rotator cuff tendons are prone to injury as well as wear and tear. When this occurs, one will experience pain and weakness in the shoulder. An MRI is best in making this diagnosis.
Initial treatment for rotator cuff tear is physical therapy and time. This is to see if the injury will heal on its own. Traditionally, when healing does not occur, surgery would take place. Surgery for rotator cuff tear requires hospitalization and 3-6 months of time for adequate recovery. With surgery there are significant risks and a significant amount of down time. There are research studies that have shown that surgery is no better than physical therapy at restoring function in the long run for many people.
Mesenchymal stem cells retrieved from bone marrow can heal a rotator cuff tear. A research study on over 100 patients has shown effectiveness of stem cell usage in patients with and without arthritis. First and foremost, it is critical that the correct cells are used. Bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells must be used for this healing to take place. In addition, it is critical that the stem cells are placed accurately with ultrasound guidance directly into the tear. Many clinics claim to be using stem cells; however, they’re using umbilical cord and amniotic birth products which contain no live stem cells. In addition, most of these clinics do not have expertise in placing the cells accurately into the tears, utilizing musculoskeletal ultrasound.
What does all of this mean? If you are diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, a stem cell treatment is a viable alternative to surgery. This procedure must be done correctly under ultrasound guidance and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells must be utilized. The results are equivalent if not superior to surgery, without the risks nor the downtime.
At Regenexx Pittsburgh, our physicians are skilled in performing this procedure. Come in for a consultation at your earliest convenience.