Reported April 20, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s like a sleeve that wraps around your shoulder joint, allowing you to raise, lower and move your arm. But when the rotator cuff tears, it makes even the simplest arm movement painful and difficult. There are several surgical options to fix limited rotator cuff tears, but in the worst of these injuries, there wasn’t much doctors could do. Now, a new experimental procedure is changing that.
65-year-old James Barrow loves to play golf but a year and a half ago, he couldn’t lift his right arm too high. An accident severed tendons in his shoulder, making even simple things seem impossible.
“One of the physicians I saw early on told me there was nothing they could do,” James barrow told Ivanhoe.
Emory sports medicine specialist doctor Spero Karas developed a new procedure to fix these massive tears using a surgically placed cadaver tissue graft to replace and reattach the defective tendon.
“We sew the graft into the patient’s native rotator cuff and use that graft to bridge the defect over to the bone and then we reattach the graft to the bone,” Spero G. Karas, M.D., associate professor of orthopedics at Emory Healthcare Sports Medicine, explained.
Early studies show this experimental graft-to-bone technique is a safe and effective repair. A year after surgery, James feels like a success story every time he picks up a club. He’s an avid golfer who’s back in the swing of an active retirement.
Reporting this new graft-to-bone repair is not FDA approved. However, grafts are currently FDA approved to add strength to traditional rotator cuff repairs.