Dr. Christos Thanasas of Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece, published a study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine studying the effects of Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) in lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). PRP involves removing a small amount a patient’s blood, concentrating healing components called platelets and re-injecting the platelets into a soft-tissue injury.
“There is now a solution for patients suffering from unrelenting ‘tennis elbow,'” said Dr. Thanasas, who led the study. Thanasas and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of single local injections of PRP under ultrasound guidance with autologous blood injections in 28 patients with tennis elbow. Visual analog pain scores at 6 weeks after the injections improved by 61.47 percent in PRP patients compared to the autologous blood group with 41.6 percent improvement from initial pain levels. Improvement continued in both groups after 3 and 6 months following injection, with no significant difference in pain scores between the treatments.
Thanasas said PRP was the best treatment for tennis elbow when conventional therapies had failed. The current option following conventional treatments is surgery. The study indicted PRP is a very acceptable and potentially successful last resort to surgery.
Thanasas concluded that further studies are needed to see how and when the PRP therapy is most effective, adding that he and his colleagues are about to start trials of PRP with varied concentrations of white blood cells to discover how PRP may help repair ligaments.