The CORE Institute and MORE Foundation are conducting a study of a procedure that appears to improve outcomes of rotator cuff surgeries. In the study, participants wear a device that stimulates the shoulder with pulsed electromagnetic fields, which may aid in healing.
“It’s technology that’s been used previously to get bones to heal, known as a bone stimulator,” said Dr. Michael Amini, a shoulder and elbow surgeon with The CORE Institute. “It’s shown good promise for rotator cuff healing in basic science studies, and we’re trying to prove that in a clinical setting.”
On average, Dr. Amini said, repaired rotator cuffs re-tear 20 to 30 percent of the time. If the device helps the tendon heal, it could reduce the rate of reinjury and provide both better function and strength.
“A lot of the focus of current rotator cuff research is on improving the biology,” Dr. Amini said. “The device may provide a stimulation effect to the repair. If you have a cut on your skin that gets stitched up, the skin has to heal. The rotator cuff is the same but at a much slower speed. This is trying to stimulate (the tendon) to make it go faster and help it heal.”
In the study, participants wear the device for 90 minutes a day the first six months after rotator cuff surgery. The team will follow their progress for two years.
It’s estimated that one in four people has a torn rotator cuff tendon by the time they reach age 65. While not all people who have torn rotator cuffs experience pain or loss of function, it is a frequent problem as people age.
“It’s very common because of the wear and tear our shoulder sees over the course of a lifetime,” Dr. Amini said. “But a lot of people don’t have any symptoms. They’re not in pain.”
For those who do need an operation because of pain or lack of function, it generally takes six to 12 months to fully recover following rotator cuff surgery. The majority of healing takes place during the first three to six months.
The CORE Institute and MORE Foundation have great hopes for the study.
“This is an exciting opportunity for rotator cuff tear patients because the only way to obtain this cutting-edge treatment is to participate in this clinical trial,” said Marc Jacofsky, Ph.D., Executive Director of MORE Foundation and Chief Scientific Officer for The CORE Institute. “This further demonstrates how the relationship between MORE Foundation and The CORE Institute benefits the patients in the communities we serve and helps to Keep Life in Motion.”
To learn more about the study and to find out about participating, visit the MORE Foundation at more-foundation.org/research.