Stem Cells Improve Tendon Healing After Rotator Cuff Repair

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Research News

by Laurie Erickson.


Research abstract and photos of two lead authors from Perelman School of Medicine.

A study in the Sept 2014 International Orthopaedics reported that mesenchymal stem cells improved tendon healing following rotator cuff repair. The study was presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in March 2015.. After 6 months, 100% of the stem cell treated patients had healed compared to 67% of the non-treated controls. After 10 years, 87% of the stem cell treated repairs were still intact vs 40% of the controls.

The mesenchymal stem cells were concentrated from bone marrow collected from the patients' iliac crest (pelvic bone) before rotator cuff surgery. The number of stem cells returned to the patients was 26,000-76,000. The patents who did the best were the ones that received the largest number of stem cells.

The stem cell treated group had a faster healing rate and better quality of healing as seen on imaging with MRI and ultrasound, and the treated group had fewer failures over the 10-year follow-up period.