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New biologic treatment for tennis elbow may replace surgery for chronic sufferers

, at 4 weeks post-treatment the PRP-treated group reported a mean 46 percent improvement versus a mean 17 percent improvement in the control group. Eight weeks after treatment, the PRP patients reported a mean 60 percent improvement while the control group reported a mean 16 percent improvement. At eight weeks, 3 of the 5 control patients had either sought other treatment for their condition or had left the study, limiting further analysis to the PRP-treated patients.

At 6 months post-treatment, the PRP-treated patients' visual analog pain scores had improved 81 percent over their baseline scores. At a 2-year evaluation, 93 percent of these patients reported "complete satisfaction" with the treatment and 7 percent were "partially satisfied." Nearly all of the PRP-treated patients had returned to the activities of daily living and over 90 percent had returned to work or sporting activities.

Platelet-rich plasma contains powerful growth factors that initiate healing in the tendon, but may also send signals to other cells in the body drawing them to the injured area to help in repair, Mishra theorizes. Early studies have shown PRP therapy to be useful in maxillofacial surgery, wound healing, microfracture repair, and in the treatment of plantar faciitis. Treatment with PRP is still considered investigational and further research is needed before it can be made available to the general population.

"The body has an extraordinary ability to heal itself," says Mishra. "All we did was speed the process by taking blood from a different area, concentrating it, and putting it back into an area where there was relatively poor blood supply to help repair the damage."


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Source:American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine


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