Authors: Xaver Feichtinger, Xavier Monforte, Claudia Keibl, David Hercher, Jakob Schanda, Andreas H Teuschl, Christian Muschitz, Heinz Redl, Christian Fialka, Rainer Mittermayr
A recent controlled laboratory study investigated the effectiveness of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) in improving the biomechanical and functional outcomes of chronic rotator cuff tears in rodents. After inducing tendon degeneration and performing surgical reconstruction, rats were randomly assigned to three groups: no ESWT, intraoperative ESWT, and intra- and postoperative ESWT. The rats underwent repeated gait analysis, and after eight weeks, biomechanical and gene expression analyses were performed.
The results showed that both ESWT groups had significantly improved load-to-failure test results compared to the control group, indicating improved biomechanical stability. Additionally, the repetitive ESWT group had significantly enhanced functional gait analysis results compared to the control group. The gene expression analysis showed no significant differences between the groups.
The study suggests that ESWT may be an effective additional treatment option for chronic rotator cuff tears to prevent healing failure and enable faster remobilization and return to activities. Furthermore, as ESWT is noninvasive, easy to perform, and cost-effective, it could be of high clinical relevance in orthopaedic surgery. The study has led to the initiation of a clinical trial to confirm the improved functionality with ESWT.
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