A New Jersey team of researchers has reported the successful, long-term relief of chronic refractory shoulder pain in a wheelchair user with spinal cord injury (SCI) following a single injection of autologous, micro-fragmented adipose tissue into the affected shoulder joint. The article was epublished ahead of print on May 13, 2019 by Spinal Cord Series and Cases. This is the first reported use of this intervention for shoulder pain in an individual with spinal cord injury who has failed to improve with conservative care, such as physical therapy and pharmacological agents.
The authors are Chris Cherian, MD, of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Gerard Malanga, MD, of the New Jersey Regenerative Institute and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, and Nathan Hogaboom, PhD, of Kessler Foundation, and Michael A. Pollack, MD, of Montclair Radiology.
Chronic shoulder pain is a common cause of functional decline among wheelchair users with SCI who rely on their upper limbs for mobility and everyday activities of daily living. When pain persists despite conservative management, current options for individuals with SCI have significant drawbacks. Corticosteroid injections offer only temporary relief and surgical interventions often require prolonged periods of recovery and have poor outcomes, which can add to the burden of disability.