How to Avoid Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears and Take Gold!

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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how to avoid surgery for rotator cuffThe MRI on the left above shows a complete rotator cuff tear that needs surgery. However, this martial-arts master knew that if he headed that direction, there was a significant chance that the shoulder he depended on to place opponents on the floor, as shown on the right, may never be the same. As a result, he chose to enter one of our research studies where his stem cells were precisely injected into the tear without surgery. More interesting is that the image on the right, of him winning a huge match, was taken after that procedure.

Why Rotator Cuff Surgery May Be a Bad Choice for Athletes and Active Weekend Warriors

Whether you’re a martial-arts master, a professional athlete, or just an active weekend warrior who relies on a full range of motion and proper functioning of your shoulder, rotator cuff surgery may be the wrong choice. Why?  Before we get into our shoulder injury story, let’s review a small handful of recent research on rotator cuff surgery:

How to Avoid Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears: Javier’s Shoulder Story

Javier was first seen at our Colorado clinic in the spring of 2015. At that time, he had had shoulder pain for about a year that had begun with lifting heavy weights. Despite reducing his weights and changing his martial arts training schedule, the pain got worse and not better. His MRI is on the left above. Notice the white line that runs through and through the dark rotator cuff tendon, indicating a complete tear. He was offered a surgical procedure, but chose to look into how to avoid surgery for rotator cuff tears and instead search for other techniques that might help him heal the damage rather than getting cut open and sewn up, potentially damaging his ability to compete in tournaments. In June of last year, he was injected using high-dose stem cells (HD-BMC) and by eight weeks later, just when he would usually be ramping up postsurgical rehab, he was reporting 90–100% relief and a return to activities! If he had gone the surgery route, he would have been lucky to have just come out of the brace at that point!

This is what we just got from Javier (with the above picture attached):

“Here is an update status from a rotator cuff study patient, as of now I’ve been extremely active and have not had a single issue with my shoulder. Recently I competed in the Las Vegas Abu Dhabi trails for jiu-jitsu and took gold, and I don’t think it would’ve been possible without Regenexx.”

The upshot? We shouldn’t have been able to treat the above complete rotator cuff tear without surgery and have a patient return to working out in record time, but we did. This patient shouldn’t have been able to compete at an elite level without surgery, but he did. Turns out that many of the assumptions on which the modern orthopedic surgery mentality rests are likely incorrect. If you or a loved one is in this situation and are interested in how to avoid surgery for rotator cuff tears and get back to competition much sooner, we’d be glad to take a look to see if you’re a candidate for this procedure.

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18 thoughts on “How to Avoid Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears and Take Gold!

  1. chris

    Our local paper just did a glowing profile on a young orthopedic surgeon. It focused on how he was doing a “cutting edge” surgery, reverse shoulder arthroplasty. He was even doing it on young athletes, mainly baseball players. What could possibly go wrong with reversing the ball and socket in the shoulder joint.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Chris,

      Ha! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mrs M Maharaj

    I am 60yr old female and have had surgery for right rotator cuff repair..however I now have a partial tear on my left arm rotator cuff which is due to degenerative…I Do not want surgery is there another way to repair this without surgery..what are the chances..I live in South Africa…can you recommend somewhere here

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Mrs. M Maharaj,

      Both injury related and degenerative rotator cuff tears can be treated. Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/shoulder-surgery-alternative/. Only Regenexx Providers can perform these procedures and we don’t have one in South Africa. We do have one in Australia. Please see the Interactive Regenexx Physician Locator: http://www.regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

  3. tony

    thank you for helping me decide to do more exercises to help my schoulder

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Tony,
      A great plan!

  4. Sue

    I am a 55 year old female. I have a significant tear in my shoulder/rotator cuff that started as an injury 10 years ago. It was so painful at times that I could not lift a coffee cup or sleep through the night. So far, I have done one month of physical therapy and 5 acupuncture treatments. While doing this PT and acupuncture, I avoided lifting anything heavy for a couple of months. I am nearly pain free now, and I am slowly challenging my shoulder with a normal routine. So far so good. I am going to have an orthopedic surgeon evaluate it and also a Regenexx doctor evaluate it yet. Note: I can throw a ball for a pet to fetch now. I couldn’t do that a year ago.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Sue,

      That’s great! Interestingly, a recent study showed that rotator cuff surgery was no better than PT…and that whether your Rotator Cuff tear heals seems to have alot to do with your genes. So you might have dodged the bullet on 2 fronts! Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/blog/rotator-cuff-healing/ When a Rotator Cuff tear doesn’t heal, avoid the risks,complications and rehab of surgery with a precise guided injection of your own platelets or stem cells. http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/shoulder-surgery-alternative/

  5. Terry Barton

    i’d like to schedule an appointment. I have complete rotator cuff tear of the left shoulder.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Terry,

      We will have our team contact you.

  6. Glenn Nudelman

    Did he repeat the MRI to see if he had healed the tear?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Glenn,

      This patient is part of our Rotator Cuff Clinical Study. As part of the study there are specific time points where follow-up MRI’s are done.

  7. Merle Beachy

    I am 66 years old. I had right shoulder rotator cuff surgery in May of 2015. Four months later I fell down playing flag football, and may have reinjured it. At any rate, I am still unable to throw a ball overhand with my right arm. I have pretty good movement, and I did strengthening exercises using bungee straps.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Merle,

      Physical therapy can often help. Studies actually show it works about as well as surgery. But if it’s not getting where you wantto be aprecise imageguided injectin ofyour own platelets or stem cels often can. Please see: http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/shoulder-surgery-alternative/

  8. Steve McGrew

    I have a 10mm tear in my rotator cuff and a tear in the middle of my bicep. Would I need two injections (one in the bicep and one in the rotator cuff)?
    Also have a miniscus tear along with lost cartilage (again do I need 2 injections (one in knee and one directly in miniscus?
    Why bone marrow when umbilical cord provides more and younger MSEs?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Steve,

      Great questions! The best way to answer to the first two questions is to watch this video, as it’s a shoulder procedure, not a series of separate procedures: https://regenexx.com/blog/watch-advanced-image-guided-injection-shoulder-step-procedure-suite-dr-schultz/ Assuming you meant MSC’s instead of MSE’s, the issue is that we, nor other independent labs we’ve had test them, have found any live, viable stem cells in any amniotic, umbilical, or cord products being marketed as “stem cells.” Please see: https://regenexx.com/blog/foot-arch-knee-pain/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/stem-shot-review/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/patient-saved-amniotic-scam/ and https://regenexx.com/blog/amniotic-stem-cell-update-wrong/

  9. robert

    I have 2 tears left/// right. The right is the worst. It is so severe the doctors because I am an 80 yr old healthy did not recomend surgery.
    Do you have any doctors near Modesto cal Thank You

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Robert,
      We have several in the general area. The first step would be to submit the “Am I a Candidate” form here: http://www.regenexx.com, and the team will find the best location for you, or, call 855 622 7838 for assistance with the process.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

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.
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