Rotator Cuff Graft/Patch Augmentation

Rotator Cuff Graft/Patch Augmentation

What is a rotator cuff graft/patch augmentation?

When there is a partial rotator cuff tear that is symptomatic and not responding to conservative treatment, it is sometimes necessary to consider surgery.

Even though the tears may be partial thickness, the equivalent of a full repair is usually necessary. While full repairs do provide good results, the recovery time can be many months and requires a significant amount of rehabilitation exercises.

A rotator cuff graft/patch augmentation improves tendon strength and induces healing where the tendon is torn. A bio-inductive collagen implant is placed over the site of the cuff tear without the need for a full repair. Patients are able to resume their normal activities quicker than after a full repair with a corresponding improvement in pain. The patch is absorbed within 6 months in most cases, and follow up MRI scans have shown an increase in the thickness of the tendon.

The collagen implant can also be used to augment full rotator cuff repairs and even in revision situations where previous repairs have not resulted in healing of the tendon.

Regeneten™ Bioinductive Implant

The bioinductive implant is derived from highly purified bovine tendon and encourages the natural healing response of the body. It has been used in the United States for many years and has just been introduced in Australia. Mr Chua was the first rotator cuff specialist in Victoria to use the new patch.

The patch can be inserted arthroscopically (using keyhole surgery) with the option of performing a full repair or revision repair at the same time. In the setting of a partial tear, the use of a sling can be weaned after just one week, compared to an average of 4 to 6 weeks for a full repair.

Not all rotator cuff tears are suitable for the use of a patch augment. Mr Chua will assess your shoulder and the specifics of your individual tear, and discuss with you to determine whether the use of the bioinductive implant can be considered.

How long is rotator cuff graft recovery time?

Although recovery times will differ, a sling will have to be worn for approximately 6 weeks after rotator cuff graft/patch augmentation surgery.

Mr Chua will refer you to a physical therapist who will give you advice around what movements you should be incorporating and avoiding during your recovery. These may include:

  • Avoiding lifting your arm
  • Using ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Introducing small movements to your hand, wrist and elbow throughout the day to improve blood circulation

Once the six weeks are over, it may take another four to six weeks of additional recovery before you can start using your arm as per normal.

Recovery guidelines may differ from patient to patient. It is important to speak to Mr Soong Chua about what your specific recovery journey looks like before incorporating any movements after surgery.

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