By Albert Llenas, DSM Biomedical
Each year in the United States, more than 250,000 rotator cuff repair procedures are performed. This number is expected to grow as the risk of rotator cuff injury increases with age due to tendons and muscles become weaker and degenerate over time. The number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to triple by 2050, from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050 and an increase in activity among the geriatric population is also expected to contribute to the steady increase in rotator cuff repair surgeries in the coming years.
Currently, a variety of rotator cuff repair devices are used for minimally invasive surgery depending upon the tear size, anatomy of the individual’s shoulder, age, and surgical approach for the treatment. Although suture anchors are typically used to secure torn tendons to the humoral head, historically failure rates for massive tear rotator cuff repairs have been reported between 13% and 68%. To potentially improve these outcomes, repairs are more commonly being supplemented with reinforcing scaffolds. When used in combination with suture anchors, reinforcing scaffolds help distribute loads over the fibrous tendons that make up the rotator cuff.