Can Tendons Be Strengthened with Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections?

24Dec10

There is a controversy about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Some physicians advocate them, some debate their effectiveness. Some say they work miracles, others say they are no different from saline injections.

I had tears in my rotator cuff tendon that the surgeon, who put my shoulder together after I dislocated it, could not fix. The surgeon did an outstanding job, but the long-traumatized tendon tissue would not hold as many stitches as it would take to fix it completely. I am glad he managed to reattach the tendon so I did not lose muscle function.

The postoperative MRI showed a tear about 9 millimeters long. In the course of rehab this tear was putting the brakes on my shoulder’s recovery. By weakening the tendon, it reduced both the amount of resistance I could handle and the frequency of my workouts, and so it limited my strength increase.

Eventually, the physical therapist who supervised my rehab, Dev Chatterjee from OmniAthletix, suggested PRP as a means to close the tear. He recommended Dr. Francis Fontaine from Chiromedic in Laval, Quebec. I went to the doctor, had the initial examination including ultrasonography, discussed pros and cons of the injection, and decided to go ahead with the procedure, controversy be damned.

I got the injection on October 22. Dr. Fontaine viewed the tendon using ultrasonography as he injected first a local anesthetic and then PRP. As he was injecting the anesthetic, he noticed there were more tears in the tendon than just the 9 mm one the MRI showed. Injection of the anesthetic caused the tendon to expand, revealing other tears that were not visible on the MRI. That helped with locating spots into which the PRP was injected.

After the injection I followed the doctor’s orders–no exercise for two weeks, then gradual return to rehab exercises under the supervision of Dev Chatterjee.

I went to the doctor for a checkup on December 15. He examined the tendon with ultrasonography, and the tears were gone, filled up with new collagen. From this point it will take a few months for the new collagen fibers to mature and obtain full strength.

So, for me the PRP worked. I should have had it done much sooner after the operation.

I write about this so other unfortunates with damaged tendons or ligaments know about this treatment option that is relatively inexpensive, convenient, and for me, painless.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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7 Responses to “Can Tendons Be Strengthened with Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections?”

  1. 1 jonny fitz

    Hello Mr Kurz. I was wondering if you could discuss [without bitchslapping me] what led to your shoulder injury . Thank you. Jonny F

  2. 3 Karin Patrick

    Well, it is good to know that PRP worked for you. I am considering on having it done on my foot.

    Karin

  3. 4 Manmohan Tagore

    This is fascinating information. I see that this post was almost a couple of years ago. How is your shoulder now Mr Kurz?

  4. Hello Mr. Tagore,
    The shoulder is much stronger now. While it is far from its pre-injury strength, I do things with this shoulder that surgeons and most physios never thought possible.

  5. 6 Manmohan Tagore

    Thank you for your quick response. It is good to hear you have regained a lot of strength. I am glad I know about PRP. I am sure you will eventually get to what are normal strength levels for you.

  6. 7 Karin

    I have a tear in my muscle and tendon in my left hip. Goggling PRP therapy has not convinced me to get the injection. The success rate shows only about 20%. I am glad you had success. I think I am opting for surgery, as I had pain since March 13, and it seems to get worse.


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