What Do Rotator Cuff Tears and Hernias Have in Common?

New materials offer hope for fixing both

Shoulder repair illustration

They may seem pretty different, but rotator cuff tears and abdominal hernias have two things in common: They are both caused by soft tissue injuries, and they both occur frequently.

Surgeons perform nearly 250,000 rotator cuff repairs and 350,000 hernia repairs each year in the United States, with hernia repairs alone costing $3.2 billion. New ways to repair soft tissue would promote healing and save money. Consider this: A 1 percent reduction in hernia repairs would save $32 million a year.

Kathleen Derwin, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, and her team are developing new biologically based materials for advancing these soft tissue repairs. Results are encouraging so far. Rotator cuff repair using these materials could soon advance to human trials. But that’s not the only use Dr. Derwin sees for the future.

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“In the future, these materials will be adapted to help regenerate soft tissue in extremity, skin, fascia and genitourinary injuries,” Dr. Derwin says.

Shoulder repair

Illustration of a rotator cuff repair using new biologically based materials.


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  • Julie Bailey

    I am a patient of Dr J Iannotti (shoulder tears) I would like more information on this repair using the material for soft tissues

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