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The use of rotator cuff augmentation has increased dramatically over the last 10 years in response to the high rate of failure observed after non-augmented surgery. However, although augmentations have been shown to reduce shoulder pain, there is no consensus or clear guideline as to what is the safest or most efficacious material. Current augmentations, either available commercially or in development, can be classified into three categories: non-degradable structures, extra cellular matrix (ECM)-based patches and degradable synthetic scaffolds. Non-degradable structures have excellent mechanical properties, but can cause problems of infection and loss of integrity in the long-term. ECM-based patches usually demonstrate excellent biological properties in vitro, but studies have highlighted complications in vivo due to poor mechanical support and to infection or inflammation. Degradable synthetic scaffolds represent the new generation of implants. It is proposed that a combination of good mechanical properties, active promotion of biological healing, low infection risk and bio-absorption are the ideal characteristics of an augmentation material. Among the materials with these features, those processed by electrospinning have shown great promis. However, their clinical effectiveness has yet to be proven and well conducted clinical trials are urgently required.

Original publication




Journal article


International journal of experimental pathology

Publication Date





287 - 292


NIHR, Oxford, Biomedical Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Botnar Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Humans, Shoulder Pain, Tendon Injuries, Biocompatible Materials, Prostheses and Implants, Wound Healing, Tissue Scaffolds, Rotator Cuff Injuries