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Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff is successful for pain management, but in many patients it does not result in full recovery of function. New research shows an approved therapy for osteoporosis, use of the drug Forteo, may speed healing and improve patient outcomes. The preliminary study from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York was presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting in New Orleans.

“According to a previous study, only 69 percent of rotator cuff repairs were completely healed when evaluated two years after the surgery,” said Scott Rodeo, M.D., co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery and senior author on the study. “Although not all of the patients with failed rotator cuff tendon healing had poor clinical outcomes, we wanted to look for ways to further improve patient outcomes.”

“The healing process occurs from both the bone and the tendon, which is made up of collagen,” said Carolyn Hettrich, M.D., MPH, fifth-year resident in orthopedic surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery and lead author. “We knew the drug Forteo is osteogenic and can stimulate bone growth, but we found reports in the literature that it is also chondrogenic, so it can promote cartilage formation as well.”

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