Today I’m talking about using PRP for rotator cuff injuries. PRP is also called platelet rich plasma, and it contains a variety of growth factors, which could be helpful for tissue healing and repair.
Rotator cuff injuries are very common and there are several important structures that can easily be damaged, especially with repetitive movements of the shoulder. In the front of the shoulder, we would be concerned about the biceps tendon and supraspinatus, but also across the front is another tendon called subscapularis and then farther towards the back of the shoulder is the infraspinatus tendon.
To assess these tendons properly, we need to use bedside ultrasound. And if we were going to deliver PRP, we need to precisely locate the area in the tendon that requires the repair. So we inject PRP using sterile ultrasound guidance.
When we deliver platelets exactly to the area of injury, they release their growth factors within an hour. As a result, tissue repair could happen right away. Often, people will notice a dramatic improvement in their symptoms within as little as two to three weeks, but be prepared for a total recovery time of about four to six weeks after an injection of PRP. If you’re not quite a hundred percent in four to six weeks, a second dose may also be required.
It is important to keep in mind that PRP works for mild tears or strains of the rotator cuff, but if you have a more substantial tear, say anything bigger than about one centimeter, it would be wise to combine the PRP with a source of stem cells, such as a fat graft or lipoaspirate. Those require further consultation, and we would be more than happy to discuss these issues with you.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a problem with their rotator cuff, please contact our office at 250-717-3200.
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