Introduction: Rotator Cuff tears affect 15% of 60 year olds and carry a significant social
and financial burden. Current operative techniques and repair adjuncts are associated with unacceptably
high failure rates, stimulating investigation into novel tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
(TERM) approaches in the field of rotator cuff surgery. In this review we explore the most recent advances
in the field of electrospinning, focussing on proposed tissue-engineered solutions in tendon,
specifically the rotator cuff.
Methods: The MEDLINE/PubMed database was reviewed for English language papers and publication
date within the last 5 years, using the search string “electrospinning AND tendon”.
Results: Of 38 results, eighteen studies were included in the final analysis. Common themes identified
included (1) drug/biological molecule delivery (2) using novel and biological materials in manufacture
(3) increased mechanical strengths of materials, and, (4) techniques to improve the nanotopographical
properties – of electrospun scaffolds.
Human tissue was used in less than 15% of studies to determine cytocompatibility.
Varying study designs were observed often employing differing outcome measures making direct
comparisons and conclusions challenging.
Conclusion: This review summarises the most current scientific knowledge in the study of TERM in
tendon and the rotator cuff field and electrospinning techniques. We found that as knowledge of the
pathology behind rotator cuff tears is furthered, specific molecules, mechanical properties and nanotopographical
features are being incorporated into electrospun scaffolds.