Virginia Beach shoulder surgeon develops innovative implant for tendon repair
From professional athletes to weekend warriors, every year more than 100,000 people in the U.S. have surgeries to repair their shoulders. Unfortunately, some repairs fail, or just don’t get good results. Now there’s a new device showing better results.
It’s the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Bonner of the Jordan Young Institute in Virginia Beach. Together he and his colleagues, Drs. David Diduch at the University of Virginia and Mark Getelman of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, along with engineers at Johnson and Johnson, created the TIGHT-N Docking Anchor.
“I just finished my 25th year of practice and I think I’ve probably gone through 12 different ways to do biceps repair and honestly, there’s even more than that out there,” Bonner said, “and (I) have not found the perfect solution yet. We’re hoping that the TIGHT-N is going in that direction. So far, we’ve had great results with it.”
Fitness buff Danya Bushey, one of Bonner’s patients, got the implant in January.
“I’ve been active for years and years and years at my gym lifting weights and my shoulder started bothering me a few years ago,” she said.
Bushey had a torn bicep and a some understandable anxiety about having it repaired.
“My husband tore the lower part of his bicep tendon many, many, many years ago when he had it repaired,” she said. “A week after repair, it ripped again.”
Bicep repairs, Bonner said, can fail for different reasons.
“We have issues where we fix the biceps in one location and it actually slips down and doesn’t heal where we put it. The other thing is that sometimes, it just pops.”
Bonner blames the screws they used, which often shred the tendon and cause damage. The new device, he told us, avoids damage and optimizes healing.
He goes into the shoulder arthroscopically, creates a tiny tunnel in the bone, pulls out the tendon and attaches the device to it.
Flanges that go around the devices expand inside the tunnel so the device stays in place.
“So that’s what makes it unique,” Bonner said. “The tendon is not damaged, it’s in a tunnel and basically, it’s an optimal healing environment.”
Bushey was back in the gym after eight weeks and healed within six months.
“Deadlift is my favorite, and so the other night I did four reps of 180 (lbs.)” Bushey said with a big smile.
Though Bonner admits he’s may be biased, he said that “honestly, the results have been great.”
He believes this is the next best thing in shoulder surgery.
The FDA approved it last year and Johnson and Johnson recently released it to surgeons across the country.