Could Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy be a new Tennis Elbow treatment breakthrough? – Or is it actually an expensive, unproven fad, driven by rock star-athlete publicity and questionable medical studies?
It certainly looks like it could be a promising, new approach to stubborn, chronic tendon problems, but the answer may not be clear just yet…
Addressing the following questions in more detail than the video above, including links to news sources and medical study cites:
- What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy? – (See below, also)
- What’s the difference between PRP and Autologous Blood Injection?
- What’s the theory on how PRP and ABI work?
- Is PRP an effective treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis?
- What’s my opinion as a practitioner who specializes in treating Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow?
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?
PRP (and its less-sophisticated relative, Autologous Blood Injection) are in-office “non-surgical” procedures that both begin by having a small amount of your blood drawn.
In the PRP procedure your blood is spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets, by separating them from your red blood cells and your plasma, which is mostly water and Electrolytes.
Then your platelets (along with some of your plasma) is injected into the injured area that’s not healing (usually a tendon or ligament.)
Platelets are the cells in your blood that are mostly responsible for blood clotting, and they also secrete growth factors (including human growth hormone) that are involved in tissue healing.
(The procedure with ABI is the same, except they skip the spinning and separating step, and simply inject you with the whole blood.)