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Novel device for minimally invasive treatment of rotator cuff tears

Clinical Problem: Rotator cuff tears remain one of the greatest challenges in orthopaedic surgery despite the high occurrence rates in elite and recreational athletes alike. Despite the development of new techniques and devices designed to aid in the treatment and repair of rotator cuff tears, considerable improvements are still required. Unfortunately, the quality of underlying tissue has a major influence on the outcome of these surgeries. It is for this reason that development has shifted toward ‘patches’ to support the underlying tissue structure. However, the invasive nature of implanting these patches and processing techniques leading to mechanical mismatches have limited the success of such device.


  • Investigate current treatment strategies
  • Determine value proposition of potential device
  • Establish design criteria
  • Concept generation
  • Funding opportunities

Timeline: 2018-01-01

Tags: rotator cuff tear arthroscopic minimally invasive bioabsorbable

Supporting info: New technique for patch augmentation Simplified approach to patch repair


A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. In 2013, almost 2 million people in the United States went to their doctors because of a rotator cuff problem. Your arm is kept in your shoulder socket by your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that come together as tendons to form a covering around the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade and helps to lift and rotate your arm. There is a lubricating sac called a bursa between the rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder (acromion). The bursa allows the rotator cuff tendons to glide freely when you move your arm. When the rotator cuff tendons are injured or damaged, this bursa can also become inflamed and painful. There are 2 main types of tears. Partial tear. This type of tear is also called an incomplete tear. It damages the tendon, but does not completely sever it. Full-thickness tear. This type of tear is also called a complete tear. It separates all of the tendon from the bone. With a full-thickness tear, there is basically a hole in the tendon. The three techniques most commonly used for rotator cuff repair include traditional open repair, arthroscopic repair, and mini-open repair. In the end, patients rate all three repair methods the same for pain relief, strength improvement, and overall satisfaction. Open Repair A traditional open surgical incision (several centimeters long) is often required if the tear is large or complex. The surgeon makes the incision over the shoulder and detaches one of the shoulder muscles (deltoid) to better see and gain access to the torn tendon. During an open repair, the surgeon typically removes bone spurs from the underside of the acromion (this procedure is called an acromioplasty). An open repair may be a good option if the tear is large or complex or if additional reconstruction, such as a tendon transfer, is indicated. Open repair was the first technique used for torn rotator cuffs. Over the years, new technology and improved surgeon experience has led to less invasive procedures. All-Arthroscopic Repair During arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments. Mini-Open Repair The mini-open repair uses newer technology and instruments to perform a repair through a small incision. The incision is typically 3 to 5 cm long. This technique uses arthroscopy to assess and treat damage to other structures within the joint. Bone spurs, for example, are often removed arthroscopically. This avoids the need to detach the deltoid muscle. Once the arthroscopic portion of the procedure is completed, the surgeon repairs the rotator cuff through the mini-open incision. During the tendon repair, the surgeon views the shoulder structures directly, rather than through the video monitor. References:

Novel device for minimally invasive treatment of rotator cuff tears

Started by Robbie Gaul
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Robbie Gaul

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