Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy as Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff consists of a bundle of muscles and tendons that covers the shoulder joint, specifically the head of the upper arm (humerus). It is primarily responsible for supporting and stabilizing the joint, allowing range of motion for the arms and shoulders.
Furthermore, it protects the structure of the shoulder joint by ensuring that the ball of the humerus is securely placed within the socket. But since the rotator cuff muscles are always at work, injuries to these four specific tendons are fairly common.
According to studies, rotator cuff tears are a common injury affecting almost 2 million people yearly. The risk of injury increases with age since older people are more prone to muscle degeneration and wear and tear due to overuse.
Most cases of rotator cuff injuries (65.3%) occur without any symptoms, while 34.7% exhibit the following manifestations:
- A localized pain in the injured shoulder, which can sometimes travel down the upper arm.
- Muscle weakness
- Mobility impairments include difficulty lifting, pushing, and overhead shoulder movements.
Unfortunately, muscle tears often not heal on their own. Partial injuries can be managed using medications and therapy. If conservative methods do not work or if you need your shoulder’s maximum function for your athletic interests, then your doctor may recommend surgery.
But according to current research, there’s a new treatment technique that can possibly treat rotator cuff tears一and that is through PRP therapy.
What is platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Platelets are tiny blood cells that are in the bloodstream. Their main function is to prevent bleeding and facilitate the repair of injured tissues by clumping together and forming a clot. On the other hand, plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains nutrients and protein.
Put simply, platelet-rich plasma is just blood that contains a concentrated amount of your own platelets. A centrifuge separates the red blood cells from the plasma while the platelets settle within the plasma component.
PRP has been the subject of many studies for the past decade for its supposed regenerative properties. Research suggests that it contains over a thousand bioactive factors that can be beneficial in wound healing and tissue repair.
Furthermore, PRP has been the subject of several clinical trials in oral and maxillofacial surgery, veterinary medicine, and sports injuries.
How does it work on rotator cuff injuries?
According to studies, platelet-rich plasma is a viable treatment option for muscle injuries like rotator cuff tears. It is said to have the ability to treat such a condition because of the plethora of bioactive factors that a PRP contains. Some of the most important ones include the following:
- Growth factors – enhances tissue repair and stimulate the synthesis of collagen and fibrous connective tissue. It also promotes cell growth and proliferation
- Adhesive proteins
- Angiogenic factors
- Clotting factors
- Immune mediators
- Integral membrane proteins
All of these substances, which are found in PRP, play a major role in tissue repair and wound healing in the body. Therefore, platelet-rich plasma therapy shows promising benefits for patients with rotator cuff tears and other sports injuries.
In fact, a clinical trial done in 2018 had already concluded that PRP administration greatly decreased pain and improved shoulder function in patients with rotator cuff problems.
Moreover, PRP also stimulates vascularization, thus improving the cell turnover rate and blood supply in the damaged tissues. This then hastens the healing process as the tissues now have enough nutrients needed for cell regeneration and tissue repair.
How is PRP therapy performed?
Here’s how a board-certified pain specialist performs a platelet-rich plasma therapy:
- The procedure starts by drawing an appropriate amount of blood from the patient. It will then be centrifuged. Next, your doctor will separate the plasma and prepare it for injection.
- Once the site is numb, your doctor will use an ultrasound or x-ray machine to pinpoint the location of the damaged rotator cuff. They will then inject the PRP.
- After the procedure, you’ll be instructed to rest.
It’s possible to require more than one or two sessions of PRP therapy, depending on the severity of your injury. It may be done subsequently to achieve the best clinical outcome.
Where to find the best Gainesville pain management center?
Injury to the rotator cuff brings pain and discomfort that can drastically affect your quality of life. So if you have been suffering from such a condition, it’s time to seek treatment right away.
Our pain specialist here at Advanced Pain Center is passionate about bringing innovative solutions to help you enjoy life with less pain. We provide effective pain care and research-based treatment options to address your medical needs. This includes:
Contact us at 352 888 7246 to schedule an appointment to get in touch with our experts for your first consultation.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.