Can Rotator Cuff Tear Repair Wait?

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Patients today have many options to treat a shoulder rotator cuff tear and often explore those options through research on the internet before they decide which treatment (surgical, non-surgical stem cell injection, physical therapy) fits the best.

A recent study examined what was the optimal time for surgery of a rotator cuff tear. Patients in the study had a painful tear due to trauma, weakness in the shoulder, and couldn’t fully lift the shoulder to the side and over their head. The study concluded that surgical rotator cuff tear outcome wasn’t compromised (regardless of the rotator cuff tear size) up to four months after injury.

Most tears could also wait longer, but patients with massive rotator cuff tears who waited longer than 4 months had the worst outcome.

As we advise patients on what type of rotator cuff tears we believe we can treat through injection of their own stem cells under imaging guidance and which types would be better treated via surgical repair (usually the massive rotator cuff tears with retraction of the two ends need surgery), it’s helpful to reassure patients that waiting to make a decision about whether surgery or stem cell injection is right, up top a point, doesn’t seem to impact surgical outcome.

Tears don't always cause pain. Get a Regenexx® Second Opinion and avoid unnecessary surgery.
Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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