IMAC Explains PRP for Tennis Elbow
Because they get very little blood, injured tendons are known to heal slowly. Blood platelets attract healing growth factors, so the idea of PRP is to inject a patient’s own platelets at the site of a tendon injury.
We know that when you cut your finger chopping vegetables for a recipe, the cut will bleed, then scab, then heal. Life will go on and your finger will be healed. Healing factors in blood are responsible for making your finger like new again.
IMAC Uses PRP to Heal Tennis Elbow
At IMAC Regeneration Centers, we use Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) to heal tennis elbow, and bring those healing factors to tendons that do not have substantial blood supply or access to these healing factors.
What about Steroid Injections?
Let’s talk about steroid injections… They are great at relieving acute pain in the short term, but they don’t promote healing and may lead to further tendon breakdown. Steroids cannot fix the problem that is causing the pain.
What do studies say about PRP for Tennis Elbow?
In one study, researchers randomly assigned patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow, lasting longer than six months and pain ranking at least 5 on a 10-point scale — to get either a PRP or corticosteroid injection.
Both injections were given directly into the area of maximum tenderness and into the tendon using a “peppering” technique in which the needle, after being passed through the skin, is inserted several times into the tendon.
What happened? Patients who got the corticosteroid had much faster pain relief. But 26 weeks after treatment, patients in the PRP arm were much more likely to have less pain and more function than those who received the corticosteroid.
And they kept getting better over the next year. By this time, PRP-treated patients reported a 64% improvement in pain and an 84% improvement in disability. Corticosteroid-treated patients reported a 24% improvement in pain and a 17% improvement in disability.
Moreover, only three of the 51 patients in the PRP group went on to get tennis-elbow surgery, and only two went back for a corticosteroid shot. Among the 49 patients in the corticosteroid group, six went on to surgery, six went back for PRP treatment, and one returned for another corticosteroid shot.
Anesthesiologist and IMAC Regeneration Center physician Dr. Rachel Rome says there are numerous studies like this one that show the incredible healing benefits of PRP.
“The results of this study would have been even more impressive if they had consistently used image-guidance (ultrasound) during the examination and injection to show where the damage was on the tendon,” says Rome. “If these researchers would have used image-guidance, which we always use at IMAC Regeneration Centers, I would expect to see the results of this study in the 90% and above range.”
Tendons in the elbow are not the only tissues in the body that can benefit from PRP and Regenerative Medicine. Talk with an IMAC Regeneration Centers physician today about natural treatments for orthopedic and sports injury. Click here to book a phone consultation at an IMAC location near you.