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Platelet rich plasma is a method of delivering growth factors to specific injury or repair sites. Growth factors are instrumental in soft tissue healing and repair. Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, is generated from the patient's own blood and is spun down in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelet and their growth factors into a smaller volume. This platelet gel can then be injected or inserted to specific site after an injury or during a surgical repair and may enhance soft tissue healing. This is a safe technique as it is derived from a patient's own blood. The effectiveness of this technique has been investigated and has been reported to be effective as an adjunct for treatment of muscle strains and tears, chronic tendinopathy, ligament tears and ligament repairs, meniscal repairs, and arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.

Platelet gels have been inserted for decades with meniscal repair. Newer techniques and devices facilitate creation of platelet gels for easy use. Multiple manufacturers have available devices, with a cost of $300-500 per injection. Early studies have shown reduction in pain with PRP injections for tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, as well as improvement of pain and function with chronic patellar tendinosis or tendinopathy. Platelet rich plasma has been used in addition to Achilles tendon repair and patients have found earlier recovery of function and range of motion with fewer wound complications than those treated with repair alone. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair augmented with PRP has resulted in improved functional scores 2 years after surgery.

These early studies are of low scientific power. Many anecdotal reports of successful results following PRP injection with high-level athletes have encouraged the widespread use of platelet rich plasma. Conclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of PRP with soft tissue healing will require additional studies of higher significance.

With the high safety profile and potential for improvement of outcomes with patients with complex injuries, several physicians at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Houston have begun to implement usage of platelet rich plasma, or PRP, to assist in healing with arthroscopic rotator cuff tear repair, arthroscopic meniscal repair, and healing or repair of other soft tissue, muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries. This adjunctive treatment may be a viable treatment option for chronic tendinosis or tendinopathy of the elbow or knee, Achilles tendon injuries, ACL tears and ACL reconstruction, and arthroscopic rotator cuff tear repair. Please ask your physician at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Houston if he feels that you may benefit from this modality.

Arthroscopic Meniscal Repair with Platelet Rich Plasma

Quadriceps Tendon Repair with Platelet Rich Plasma

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair with Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma Current Concepts Abstracts

Platelet Rich Plasma Current Concepts Abstracts