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Health Spotlight: Cuff augmentations used to rebuild torn rotator cuffs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rotator cuff injuries lead to impaired shoulder function. When the injury is severe, doctors need to build up tissue or bone as an anchor for the tendons, known as a cuff augmentation.

Randy Owing, a family man with a 32-year career of caring for champion horses, was very active with his work until a lacrosse game took out his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff.

Owing’s doctors say he tore three of the four tendons in the group of muscles and tendons that grow around the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. The pain was immense, and prevented Owing from raising his arm over his head.

Dr. Gregory Gasbarro at the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, performed a cuff augmentation on Owing, using Owing’s bicep to reattach the tendons.

After the surgery, four months of tendon-bone healing was necessary to make the fix solid enough so the joint wouldn’t rip again.

Rotator cuff surgery is a very slow-to-heal process, with post-surgical pain lasting up to 6 months. Doctors advise patients to be diligent about physical therapy to regain complete use of their arms.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.