Carlsbad, Platelet Rich Plasma and Rotator Cuff Tears. According to researchers, the injection of platelet rich plasma could be an effective treatment for rotator cuff injuries and rotator cuff tears. However, scientific studies to date have not been able to corroborate this theory.
The shoulder’s rotator cuff, a cluster of four muscles that function as tendons, enables a person to lift and rotate the arm. The cuff connects the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade. A gel-like substance called bursa, which lubricates the tendons, can become inflamed due to injury, overuse or long-term degeneration. Eventually, the tendons may fray and develop partial or complete tears, developing into a full thickness rotator cuff tear.
Doctors typically prescribe medications and physical therapy, and conduct surgery in advanced cases. Now, a recent study seems to indicate a mild effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma as an effective treatment for tears and other injuries to the rotator cuff.
Platelet Rich Plasma is a concentration of a naturally occurring substance drawn from the blood. A doctor rotates it in a centrifuge to separate platelets from red blood cells, then injects it into the damaged joint. The treatments stimulate the body’s growth and healing abilities, allowing tissues to mend and inflammation to subside. In one study, Platelet Rich Plasma shots decreased pain and improved knee function in 73 percent of osteoarthritis patients.
Though Platelet Rich Plasma had previously been used clinically to repair rotator cuffs, few researchers had attempted to document the therapy’s effectiveness. Doctors recently conducted a randomized, double-blind study of 27 patients with rotator cuff tears. The PhDs included Eduardo Angeli Malavolta and his colleagues.
All the patients underwent arthroscopic surgery. Some of them also received Platelet Rich Plasma injections, while the others served in a control group. Both groups of patients reportedly experienced “significant” improvements. The patients had less pain and greater flexibility in their shoulders.
The University of California at Los Angeles assessed the study’s results, monitoring patients’ pain levels and physical changes for two years. Both groups exhibited gains, with 5 percent average improvement. Members of the control group experienced one complete retear and four partial retears. Only two cases of partial retears occurred in the Platelet Rich Plasma group.
While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of Platelet Rich Plasma therapy for rotator cuff injuries, the study gives hope to patients looking for ways to relieve their discomfort and regain range of motion in the shoulders.