Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common – and frankly debilitating – musculoskeletal injuries worldwide. It’s a condition which can lead to lifelong symptoms of limited mobility, decreased function, and lifelong pain even if treated with traditional options.
You don’t have to be an athlete to get rotator cuff injuries, they can result from factors like age, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and even genetics. While current methods of treating rotator cuff injuries have shown success, there are still massive limitations to provide healing for patients.
There is good news however!
Enter tissue allograft therapy and regenerative medicine which offers a promising new approach to healing compared to traditional methods for patients.
Today we’re going to discuss how tissue allograft therapy can be used for rotator cuff tears and why you should seriously consider it as a treatment option for this debilitating injury.
Let’s get started!
Quick Introduction To A Rotator Cuff Tear
In case you’re unfamiliar, the rotator cuff is actually a grouping of four different muscles which include:
- Teres Minor
These all cover the shoulder joint itself and allow for movement via their tendons.
Now, a rotator cuff injury can occur from a wide variety of reasons, but the most common reason (which accounts for over 60% of the more than 2 million rotator cuff injuries per year) is from repetitive overuse.
Following a tear within the rotator cuff, the injured area will undergo a 3 stage process naturally to produce healing. These include:
- Inflammatory Stage – this will be where inflammatory cells are called to the injury site to help stimulate growth factors to promote tissue repair.
- Proliferation Stage – this will be where the initial rebuilding of the muscle, tendon, and collagen appears after being recruited by fibroblasts. Essentially at this point the muscles within the wound site are disorganized, but apparent.
- Remodeling Stage – here the body will straighten out the muscles into alignment, and actually switch the cells from collagen III to collagen I which in essence is “scar tissue”.
While the body is certainly capable of producing natural healing, it takes a very, very long time for this to occur. You can easily estimate up to 12 months for a complete healing process to occur with a rotator cuff injury.
The reason for the length of time is due to a lack of blood flow to the injury site. In fact, this portion of the body gets a significantly decreased amount of blood flow compared to other areas of the body.
Without blood flow, there’s no way for growth factors and other signaling molecules to be introduced to stimulate healing.
Conventional Methods Of Rotator Cuff Treatment
Many physicians agree that a rotator cuff can get much worse without treatment. If you’re unlucky enough to have a complete tear, you’ll have extreme difficulty moving your arm in general.
Traditionally the only option for producing healing for a rotator cuff injury is with surgery. Granted, you can try out nonsurgical treatments like:
- Arm Sling + Rest
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Steroid Injections
- Physical Therapy
These will only provide surface level treatment to the tear, while relying fully on your body to produce the healing.
However, surgery doesn’t need to be your last and final option. Allow us to introduce tissue allograft therapy as a new treatment option.
Tissue Allograft Therapy For Rotator Cuff Tears
Tissue allograft therapy has recently emerged as a beacon of hope for those suffering from a rotator cuff tear because of its ability to harness the regenerative potential intrinsic to the human body.
Tissue allograft therapy is an innovative process of regenerating damaged tissue.
One of the key advantages of tissue allograft therapy is leveraging the body’s own innate healing mechanisms to provide healing to the underlying cause of the injury, as opposed to treating the symptoms most commonly done by traditional approaches.
Tissue allograft therapy has been studied for musculoskeletal disorders for a number of years now, and is quickly proving itself to be a legitimate treatment option for those patients with rotator cuff tears.
How Does Tissue Allograft Therapy Heal A Rotator Cuff Injury?
The two main reasons why you want to consider tissue allograft therapy for rotator cuff tears are:
One of the primary effects noted for tissue allograft therapy is the management of inflammation is improved by the patient. The tissue allograft introduced to the injured area helps introduce growth factors and cytokines into the damaged area which appear to have a deregulation of pro-inflammatory signals and an upregulation of anti-inflammatory signals within the joint and surrounding tissue. By reducing the inflammation, the body will begin to heal and restore the original function of the tissue.
In a significant amount of studies, physicians have noticed what appears to be signals being sent by tissue allografts to the surrounding damaged tissue to begin the healing process. It appears this communication is critical to injury response, but even more important to tissue regeneration.
As you can see, tissue allograft therapy provides a novel way for patients to treat rotator cuff injuries. By utilizing tissue allograft therapy to stimulate tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and enhance healing, this innovative therapy holds the potential to provide healing for afflicted patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Common Are Rotator Cuff Injuries?
This is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in the world, affecting over 2 million people annually in the United States. You’re most likely to experience a rotator cuff injury if you’re over the age of 40 due to the natural breakdown of the tendon tissue.
Can Tissue Allograft Therapy Completely Eliminate The Need For Surgery?
This is entirely dependent on the type and severity of tear you currently have. It’s important to discuss this with your physician.