Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 150–161 | Cite as

The Role of Biologic Therapy in Rotator Cuff Tears and Repairs

  • Michael D. Charles
  • David R. Christian
  • Brian J. Cole
Rotator Cuff Repair (M Tao and M Teusink, section editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Rotator Cuff Repair


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review was to establish the foundation of the major biologic adjuvants to rotator cuff repairs and review recent scientific findings.

Recent Findings

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) overall has no significant impact on functional outcomes and repair integrity, but may be more advantageous in small to medium tears. Further studies should focus on leukocyte-rich versus poor preparations and the use of PRP in patients that are high risk for repair failure. Biologic and synthetic patches or augments provide mechanical stability for large and massive rotator cuff tears and decrease re-tear rates. Mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated improved healing rates without an impact on outcomes. Cytokines and growth factors show promise in animal models, but require human trials to further evaluate.


In massive or revision repairs, allograft or synthetic patch augmentation should be considered. Platelet-rich plasma may have benefit in smaller tears. Further studies are needed to evaluate the value of mesenchymal stem cells and various cytologic chemical signals.


Rotator cuff Biologics Platelet-rich plasma Patches Cytokines 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Brian J. Cole reports other from Aesculap/B.Braun, other from American Journal of Orthopedics, other from American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, other from American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, personal fees and other from Arthrex, Inc., other from Arthroscopy, other from Arthroscopy Association of North America, other from Athletico, other from Cytori, other from Elsevier Publishing, other from international Cartilage Repair Society, other from Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-American, other from Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, other from Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, other from National Institutes of Health (NIAMS & NICHD), other from Ossur, personal fees and other from Regentis, other from Saunders/Mosby-Elsevier, other from Smith & Nephew, other from Tornier, outside the submitted work.

The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael D. Charles
    • 1
  • David R. Christian
    • 1
  • Brian J. Cole
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.ChicagoUSA

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