Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Andy Carr and his group have been awarded a 5-year grant by the Wellcome Trust to study the effect of a novel suture material on healing of rotator cuff tendons, the group of tendons that control movement of the shoulder.
This trial will investigate whether a novel suture material can improve healing for the benefit of patients. - Professor Andy Carr
The £900,000 trial starts this February and funds three phases of investigation of a nanofibre electrospun suture.
In a rotator cuff repair surgeons use stitching (or suture) to repair the torn tendon to bone. The commonest cause of failure is the suture pulling through the tendon before healing has occurred.
The team led by Professor Carr has developed a new type of stitching material - called Bioyarn - made of very fine synthetic degradable fibres that mimic a normal tendon. This new material aims to promote a much better healing when used compared to conventional sutures to bind the torn tendon to the bone.
Professor Carr says: "Failure rates of rotator cuff repair surgery are currently around 40% and this adversely affects patient outcomes. This trial will investigate whether a novel suture material can improve healing for the benefit of patients.
"We are delighted to have been awarded funding for this trial from the Wellcome Trust Health Innovation Challenge Fund. The trial aims to rapidly and effectively evaluate a new nanofibre suture material invented by clinicians and scientists at The University of Oxford in the Botnar Research Centre".
Shoulder tendons allow us to move our arms, carry out daily activities, work, and play sport. Pain arising from disease and injury to these tendons can cause significant long-term disability and is the third commonest orthopaedic problem to present to general practitioners.
Currently 10,000 patients a year in England have torn tendons that require surgical repair and this number is increasing. Unfortunately around 40% of these surgical repairs fail, potentially leading to long-term disability.