Los Angeles, CA (March 12, 2014) Researchers have found that sutures embedded with stem cells led to quicker and stronger healing of Achilles tendon tears than traditional sutures, according to a new study published in the March 2014 issue of Foot & Ankle International (published by SAGE).
Achilles tendon injuries are common for professional, collegiate and recreational athletes. These injuries are often treated surgically to reattach or repair the tendon if it has been torn. Patients have to keep their legs immobilized for a while after surgery before beginning their rehabilitation. Athletes may return to their activities sooner, but risk rerupturing the tendon if it has not healed completely.
Drs. Lew Schon, Samuel Adams, and Elizabeth Allen and Researchers Margaret Thorpe, Brent Parks, and Gary Aghazarian from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted the study. They compared traditional surgery, surgery with stem cells injected in the injury area, and surgery with special sutures embedded with stem cells in rats. The results showed that the group receiving the stem cell sutures healed better.
"The exciting news from this early work is that the stem cells stayed in the tendon, promoting healing right away, during a time when patients are not able to begin aggressive rehabilitation. When people can't fully use their leg, the risk is that atrophy sets in and adhesions can develop which can impact how strong and functional the muscle and tendon are after it is reattached," said Dr. Schon. "Not only did the stem cells encourage better healing at the cellular level, the tendon strength itself was also stronger four weeks following surgery than in the other groups in our study," he added.
For further information on how to take care of your feet and ankles, or to find a local orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society patient website at http://www.footcaremd.org.
"Stem Cell-Bearing Suture Improves Achilles Tendon Healing in a Rat Model" by Samuel B. Adams, Jr, MD; Margaret A. Thorpe, BS; Brent G. Parks, MSc; Gary Aghazarian, BS; Elizabeth Allen, MD; and Lew C. Schon, MD in the March 2014 Foot & Ankle International.
The AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other health care providers. It creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, provides leadership, and serves as a resource for government, industry and the national and international health care community.
Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system of the foot and ankle. This includes the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves and skin. Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons use medical, physical, and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery to treat patients of all ages. They perform reconstructive procedures, treat sports injuries, and manage and treat trauma of the foot and ankle.
Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons work with physicians of many other specialties, including internal medicine, pediatrics, vascular surgery, endocrinology, radiology, anesthesiology, and others. Medical school curriculum and post-graduate training proves the solid clinical background necessary to recognize medical problems, admit patients to a hospital when necessary, and contribute significantly to the coordination of care appropriate to each patient.
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