The use of stem cells has been shown to improve healing outcomes following rotator cuff repairs. Specifically, they have been shown to decrease the re-tear rate and provide more reliable healing rates. It is believed that stem cells might create a more favorable environment for tendon healing following repair.

The goal of this study is to compare the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing rotator cuff repair without stem cells to patients undergoing rotator cuff repair with stem cells. Since it is a randomized control clinical trial, 50% of patients receive the stem cell injection during surgery and 50% do not. Patients are blinded as to whether or not they were given stem cells. For patients receiving the injection, bone marrow aspirate will be drawn from the pelvic bone during surgery, spun down in a centrifuge to concentrate the stem cells, and subsequently injected into the rotator cuff repair site. Patients who do not receive the injection will be “blinded” by receiving a small needle stick in the same area, but no bone marrow aspirate will be drawn. Patients in the study complete pre-operative and post-operative surveys as well as complete an MRI 1 year post-operatively to evaluate tendon healing.

If you have shoulder pain due to a rotator cuff injury you may be eligible for a study on new treatments. The Stem Cell Trial is a new approach to the treatment of rotator cuff tears. To be eligible for the study, you must: have shoulder pain, be between ages 18 and 70, be willing to undergo initial evaluation and imaging to determine if your pain is caused by rotator cuff injury and be a candidate for surgical rotator cuff repair. If you are interested in this trial and wish to schedule an appointment for evaluation of your shoulder pain to find out if you are eligible for the Stem Cell Trial, please contact Midwest Orthopaedics: shoulderstemcells@rushortho.com.

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