Many patient are battling severe pain due to arthritis or tendonitis, such as tennis elbow. When non surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, moist heat and exercises do not minimize your pain — AND — you pain is significantly affecting your quality of life then many patients consider surgery. Patients with arthritis may choose to have a knee or hip replacement, and many people may choose to have surgery for their tennis elbow or rotator cuff pain. Until recently we had few if any other options to offer patients in lieu of surgery.
PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma
Pain can be debilitating. Severe long-standing pain will typically lead patients to consider surgery. In a last-ditch effort to avoid surgery, many patient have tried an increasingly popular procedure – PRP or platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP, or platelet rich plasma injections, which involve the injections of your own concentrated platelets, protein-releasing bodies, and other healing growth factors can aid the body in resolving certain inflammatory conditions and can heal worn out tissues, like suffers of tennis elbow have.
The wikipedia definition of PRP is: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains (and releases through degranulation) several different growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue.
PRP or platelet rich plasma therapy has been somewhat controversial, but in many studies has been shown to benefit a significant number of people suffering from tennis elbow, rotator cuff disease and osteoarthritis. Here are links here for PRP articles for treatment of Tennis Elbow .
PRP injections for arthritis, tennis elbow and other ligament disorders is an office injection or procedure. To initiate the PRP procedure we start by drawing blood sample from your arm. We then place that sample of blood into a centrifuge and after the blood has spun in the centrifuge for a while certain layers will appear. One of those layers contains the PRP, or platelet rich plasma. PRP, or platelet rich plasma is a portion of your blood that contains cells called platelets and a concentrated liquid, which contains a number of chemicals or growth factors that our body uses to regenerate itself. Contained within the platelets themselves is a very high concentration of these very same chemicals or growth factors. The idea behind PRP or platelet rich plasma injections, is that by placing these injections at the site of arthritis, tendon degeneration, or ligament tears, we can get your body to attempt to regenerate itself. This is vastly different than the cortisone injections, which simply mask inflammation and have no healing capabilities. PRP, if successful, generally results in long-lasting relief – – – because the degenerative tissue, which was wearing out— has started to regenerate or regrow itself.
Once your blood is removed from the centrifuge, and the PRP layer is removed, it is injected into the area where you arthritis, tendon wear or ligament tear is.
Keep in mind this is a very active area of research within the orthopedic community. Not all PRP is created equal, there are different preparation techniques, they’re a different delivery techniques, and we are still perfecting the best method to be utilized to treat your tennis elbow. That being said, the results for PRP injections for tennis elbow – – – have been quite promising.