Biologics for tendon repair: an overview

Written by: Mr Andrew Chambler
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

Biologics for tendon repair refer to biological substances, like growth factors, cytokines, collagen scaffolds or stem cells to enhance the healing process of damaged tendons. These substances are often derived from living organisms and can stimulate tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation, and promote better tendon healing.


Biologics offer a promising alternative to traditional treatments by harnessing the body's natural healing mechanisms for more effective tendon repair or to augment mechanical techniques to strengthen the repair.. Leading consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Andrew Chambler explains more about the procedure.




What is meant by biologics for tendon repair?


Biologics for tendon repair refer to the use of tissue - collagen grafts - to induce and enhance healing of tendons that have been repaired with anchors and sutures.


These substances are often derived from living organisms and can stimulate tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation, and promote better tendon healing. Biologics offer a promising alternative to traditional treatments by harnessing the body's natural healing mechanisms for more effective tendon repair.


How effective is this method for tendon repairs?


This method for tendon repairs is extremely effective. Research demonstrates that following repair, there is a reduced re-tear rate of repairs, and in some instances inducing healing of partially torn tendons without the need for mechanical repair.


Who is the ideal candidate?


The ideal candidates for biologics for tendon repair are typically individuals with a rotator cuff injury, chronic tendon injuries or conditions such as tendinopathy or tendon tears that have not responded well to conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, or medication. These individuals may include athletes, active individuals, or those with repetitive stress injuries. Additionally, candidates should be in overall good health and may benefit from the regenerative properties of biologics to support and expedite tendon healing.


What is recovery like?


Surgery for tendon repair can often be completed as a day-case procedure, allowing patients to return home shortly after. Following surgery, patients typically wear a sling for approximately 2-3 weeks before beginning a structured rehabilitation programme. However, it's important to note that achieving maximal recovery can be a gradual process, spanning up to 9 months.


During this time, patients undergo various stages of healing, rehabilitation, and strengthening exercises to optimise the outcome of the procedure and regain full function of the affected tendon.


What are the associated benefits and risks?


The advantages of using these techniques include a more rapid recovery, surpassing traditional methods, and a decrease in the incidence of re-tears, as indicated by a recent study conducted in Madrid. Moreover, extensive research has shown that incorporating these grafts poses no additional risks. Many studies conducted worldwide have evaluated various implants, affirming their safety and efficacy in tendon repair procedures.




If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Chamble, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Andrew Chambler
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Andrew Chambler is a highly distinguished consultant orthopaedic surgeon with practices in Bath and Newport. With more than 20 years of consultant-level experience, Mr Chambler is internationally renowned for his specialist expertise in keyhole shoulder and elbow surgery. Included in his highly skilled clinical practice are rotator cuff repair, shoulder replacement surgery and shoulder arthroscopy procedures alongside treatment for frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement and sports injuries. In the UK, Mr Chambler is also a pioneer in the use of biomaterials for tendon repairs.

Mr Chambler originally qualified from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, part of Imperial College London, in 1992 with an intercalated BSc in Clinical Science. He completed his specialist orthopaedic training on the acclaimed North West Thames rotation before going on to obtain his Master of Surgery from the University of London in 2000. Having previously become a fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons, Mr Chambler later accomplished four prestigious fellowships: a shoulder and elbow clinical fellowship from Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and three British Elbow and Shoulder Society travelling fellowships, within the UK, Europe and the famed Mayo Clinic in the USA.

Mr Chambler also held a consultant post at Yeovil Hospital for more than a decade, during which he was closely involved in the development of shoulder and elbow services. He not only secured the provision of new arthroscopic techniques but also managed quality control of surgical outcomes to enable the utmost up-to-date patient care. Mr Chambler was named clinical director of orthopaedics at Yeovil Hospital in 2011, and in 2013, also joined Sulis Hospital Bath (formerly Circle Bath Hospital) in a surgical partnership. For 7 years, Mr. Chambler served as the first executive consultant orthopaedic surgeon and clinical chairman at Sulis Hospital Bath. 

Further to his highly specialised surgical practice, Mr Chambler is a prominent figure in clinical research and medical education. He is an MS examiner for both the University of London and the University of Oxford, and in the past, also served as the site principle investigator for multi-centre randomised clinical trials, most notably for the UKUFF Trial. Currently, Mr. Chambler holds the position of Principal Investigator for the IMPACT Study. As a leading figure in his speciality, Mr Chambler is also regularly invited as an expert lecturer at select faculty courses in the UK and abroad, and as a reviewer for various orthopaedic peer-reviewed journals.

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