Background: Multiple studies have focused on stem cell-based treatments for rotator cuff
disorders; however, the outcomes are not consistent.
Objectives: This systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to evaluate the effects of stem
cells on rotator cuff healing.
Methods: A detailed search of relevant studies was conducted in three databases including Pubmed/
Medline, Cochrane library, and Embase databases, using the following keywords: “rotator cuff”
or “Tissue Engineering” AND “stem cell” from inception to January 01, 2019. The standard mean
difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for each individual study were extracted from the
original studies or calculated based on relevant data and pooled to obtain integrated estimates using
random effects modeling.
Results: A total of 22 studies were identified. The results demonstrated that the ultimate strain in the
stem cell group was significantly higher than that in the control group at 4 and 8 weeks. Muscle weight
in the stem cell group was higher than the control group at 8 weeks, while no significant differences
were detected at 16 weeks. The stem cell group had lower visual analog scale scores (VAS) at 1, 3,
and 6 months, and higher American shoulder and elbow surgeons score (ASES) at 3 months. In addition,
the walking distance, time, and speed in the stem cell group were significantly superior to those
in the control group.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis confirms that stem cells improved the rehabilitation of rotator cuff
disorders. However, larger-scale studies are needed to further support these findings.