Hi, it’s Dr. Grant Pagdin. Today we’re talking about platelet-rich plasma for the upper extremity. Platelet-rich plasma, as we’ve talked about previously, is a derivative of your blood. We take some blood from your arm, very similar to going to the lab for a blood test. We put it in a special container and spin it in a centrifuge to remove the red blood cells and the white blood cells.
Platelet-rich plasma has been shown to be superior to either injections of cortisone or hyaluronic acid for things like mild osteoarthritis. In the upper extremity, the areas that I would commonly inject with platelet-rich plasma would include injuries of the rotator cuff, that’s a group of muscles around the shoulder joint, including common ones that you’ll have heard of like the biceps tendon, and the supraspinatus tendon, those are probably the two most common that I deal with.
At the elbow, we would commonly deal with pain at the outside corner of the elbow called tennis elbow, and pain at the inside corner called golfer’s elbow. These are related to repetitive movements of the wrist. Then, at the wrist, we would commonly deal with some arthritis at the base of the thumb. This is the area of the body which is most frequently affected by osteoarthritis. Another common injury in the hand that we would deal with is this ligament across the edge of the thumb, which is commonly injured in skiing, and that’s why they call it skier’s thumb from planting your ski pole.
We can address these areas with platelet-rich plasma as it releases growth factors that will help to foster the healing.
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