News Release: Emory Healthcare , School of Medicine

May 13,  2011

New Shoulder Surgery Successfully Treats Serious Injuries

'Bridge Technique' with Graft Restores Function and Eliminates Pain

ATLANTA – A surgeon at the Emory Sports Medicine Center has helped to pioneer a surgical option for people suffering from severe shoulder injuries.

Spero Karas, MD, Emory orthopaedic surgeon and team doctor for the Atlanta Falcons, has found safe and effective results using a procedure called the “Bridge Technique” for rotator cuff injuries. This procedure uses a skin graft that is surgically attached to both the deficient tendon and bone to ‘bridge’ the defect.

“We have a number of treatments available to fix most rotator cuff injuries, but there are times when the tendon defect is so severe that those options are inadequate,” says Karas, who is also an associate professor of orthopaedics at Emory University School of Medicine.

For individuals with severe injuries that were untreatable in the past, this is a procedure that now offers a potential alternative.

"When the rotator cuff is repaired using this technique, it reestablishes normal function of the rotator cuff," Karas explains. "This results in eliminating pain, improving function and potentially slowing the progression of arthritis."

Not only does this procedure offer help for patients who may never have been able to completely recover from a serious injury, but Karas says it also may give the patient the ability to return to normal activity.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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