Biologic and Synthetic Grafts in the Reconstruction of Large to Massive Rotator Cuff Tears


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Abstract

Rotator cuff injuries are common in both young and elderly patients. Despite improvements in instrumentation and surgical techniques, the failure rates following tendon reconstruction remain unacceptably high. To improve outcomes, graft patches have been developed to provide mechanical strength and to furnish a scaffold for biologic growth across the delicate tendon-bone junction. Although no patch effectively re-creates the structured, highly organized system of prenatal tendon development, augmenting rotator cuff repair may help restore native tendon-to-bone attachment while reproducing the mechanical and biologic properties of native tendon. An understanding of biologically and synthetically derived grafts, along with knowledge of the preliminary data available regarding their combined use with growth factors and stem cells, is needed to improve management and treatment outcomes. The current literature has not been consistent in showing patch augmentation to be beneficial over traditional repair, but novel scaffolding materials may help facilitate rotator cuff tendon repair that is histologically and biomechanically comparable to native tendon.

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