A torn rotator cuff is a very common shoulder problem in the U.S. with more than 5 million doctor visits each year related to that injury. But a surgical implant invented at Purdue University could cut recovery time in half and provide a better overall repair of torn tendons.
It’s called BioEnthesis and almost a dozen patients have received the implant so far from a surgeon in Chicago.
Co-creator and Purdue professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering Dr. Eric Nauman says it addresses some of the biggest challenges in repairing a torn rotator cuff which afflicts 30 million people in the U.S.
“Down the road, we might be able to have knee repairs for the ACL, PCL, give people with a knee injury, faster repairs. UCL for baseball players,” said Nauman. “But probably the cartilage interfaces are the ones that have the most promise. Because if we can look at that and repair that before the injury really sets in, we might be able to stave off the need for total joint repairs.
The other creator is Dr. Darryl Dickerson, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Florida International University. He was attending Purdue when he and Nauman developed the surgical invention.
In an interview with Business of Health reporter Kylie Veleta, Dickerson said the implant, which is about the size of a stick of chewing gum, gives the body structure to help mend the tear between bone and tendon.
“Within the body, you have this sort of gradual transition going from the tendon to the bone. And what this new implant does is it helps the body to regrow that and gives instructions to the body to repair that,” said Dickerson. “Without that, somewhere in the range of 90% of rotator cuff repairs can fail. And so, we think that with adding this new piece of structure, repairing the normal structure of the tendon-bone interface, then we’ll see that reduced by quite a bit.”
North Carolina-based Sparta Biopharma LLC is commercializing BioEnthesis. Nauman and Dickerson are looking at other applications for their product, including repairing damage caused by osteoarthritis.
“If we can repair that before the injury really sets in, we might be able to stave off the need for total joint repairs,” said Nauman.