La Peer Health Systems Surgeon Discusses Challenges of Soft Tissue Regeneration in Rotator Cuff Injury

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Board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Meier, commented on a recently FDA approved Rotator Cuff Repair Device

Steven Meier
There are currently a number of products available to use as ‘tissue patches’ to augment rotator cuff repairs but each has brought its own share of deficiencies.

Late last week, the FDA approved clinical use of the STR GRAFT, a biodegradable scaffold to promote soft tissue regeneration during rotator cuff repair. The graft is thinner and stronger than other soft tissue augmentation devices on the market, suggesting that patients receiving the STR GRAFT during rotator cuff repair will experience less pain in the joint and achieve faster recovery times.

Steven W. Meier, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Beverly Hills, specializes in arthroscopic repair of shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff repair. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat ligament, tendon, or tissue damage in the shoulder. According to Dr. Meier, one of the greatest challenges to shoulder surgery is the effective treatment of soft tissue damage.

“There are currently a number of products available to use as ‘tissue patches’ to augment rotator cuff repairs but each has brought its own share of deficiencies," Dr. Meier explained. “There are products available made from animal tissue, human organ donors, and even ‘engineered’ and grown from human skin cells.

“Some of the problems, so far, have included the patch material not being strong enough, having difficult handling properties, causing adverse reactions and not incorporating with the patient’s surrounding normal tissue well. It will be interesting to see how this newer product compares to the existing ones on the market as it is tested in clinical studies.”

The rotator cuff is the group of four tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. During a rotator cuff injury, the tendons connecting the muscles to bone are torn, resulting in inflammation and further soft tissue damage.

“The soft tissue loss may be due to a degenerative component of the disease or if a tear is not repaired and allowed to progress over time,” said Dr. Meier. “If a portion of the original tendon tissue is gone, it may not be possible to fully restore the normal anatomy in surgery.”

Surgical repair of rotator cuff injuries is often needed to regain shoulder strength. Irritated tissue and loose fragments of tendon must be removed from the space in the shoulder to promote healing of the damaged rotator cuff. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair utilizes two or three tiny incisions to insert camera-equipped surgical devices. This minimally invasive shoulder surgery reduces scarring and pain after the procedure, speeding up recovery.

Steven Meier, M.D. is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor in Beverly Hills, California. He graduated with honors from Loyola Medical School in Chicago, received his residency training at Northwestern University, and completed his fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Meier’s private practice specializes in the shoulder and knee. He performs outpatient procedures at La Peer Health Systems. To learn more about Dr. Meier and his practice, visit

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