PRP and Tennis Elbow: A History

Tennis elbowFor a long time, the condition known as “tennis elbow” (technically chronic lateral epicondylitis) was treated through symptom management only, with surgery for persistent cases. Then, in 2006, Dr. Allan Mishra at Stanford began to experiment using [url=http://www.drvenuto.com/platelet-rich-plasma.html] platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) [/url] to hasten the healing process. Here’s a closer look at how Dr. Mishra’s ideas changed tennis elbow treatment and brought PRP front and center as an option for other joint pain as well.

Surgery or PRP?

Tennis elbow starts as a mild inflammation of the tendon that attaches the forearm muscles to the elbow, and can be treated with a combination of cortisone injections, physical therapy and strengthening exercises for the forearm muscles in the earliest stages.

Over time, as scar tissue builds up and the occasional discomfort progresses to chronic and recurrent, the tendon can’t heal as well. Once this stage is reached, symptoms can rapidly progress to a full tear, which would then require surgery to correct. During surgery, the scar tissue is removed so that pressure on the tendon is relieved, and the tendon is then reattached. After healing from surgery, most patients can then resume their normal sports and exercise routines.

However, treating chronic tennis elbow with an injection of PRP instead has been shown to help the affected tendon heal back almost to its normal strength, allowing patients to return to their sports activities without surgery. This administration of concentrated platelets ensures that vital growth and healing factors are delivered directly to the affected area. PRP lets the body’s natural healing systems take over, repairing existing damage so that in many cases, surgery is no longer needed.