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OrthoCincy team uses platelet-rich plasma to reduce tendon pain

OrthoCincy team uses platelet-rich plasma to reduce tendon pain (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A procedure you can get right in the doctor’s office is now trending as a popular alternative to pain pills.

It's quite common for sports injuries like tennis elbow. The treatment for pain uses your body's own blood to heal itself.

Sports medicine specialists at OrthoCincy help explain how it works.

If Don Flynn has his way, in just a few weeks following his blood draw for a procedure to help reduce tendon pain, he'll be able to play with his dog “Reggie” again.

“Don't know what I did to injure it, it hurt mainly right here,” said Flynn. “He [Reggie] loves being in my lap a lot and petting a lot, and when I pet him and get done with that and pick the arm up, it hurts.”

The procedure uses a process already in the body to enhance healing. It does that with the help of what's called PRP, or platelet rich plasma.

To get it, the blood is placed in a machine for separation of the components.

“The ones we are interested in are the platelets and the platelets are the cells that are body uses to heal,” said Dr. Matt Desjardins.

Dr. Desjardins said that PRP has been around for a while, but it's getting renewed attention as more people seek alternatives to reduce pain without prescription painkillers.

Tendon pain appears to respond well to it.

“Tendons are notoriously slow healers, and the reason for that there natural blood supply is poor,” said Dr. Desjardins.

The PRP helps enhance that blood supply for healing. It is injected back into the unhealthy tendon area under ultrasound guidance.

“It's a pretty small volume that will be injected back into the tendon, but it's loaded with platelets,” said Dr. Desjardins.

There are a couple of things to know about the procedure. You do need to be a good candidate for this procedure and, in most cases, for specific purposes, it is covered by medical insurance plans and the outcomes can vary a little bit. But in many it can either delay a future surgery, or prevent it altogether.

“Our success rate is hovering around 75 percent. We're taking a minimally invasive approach before we do an open operation, and 75 percent of the time we are getting them to heal without surgery,” said Dr. Desjardins.

For Flynn, that hopefully means in six-to-ten weeks he'll be back to petting his dog, permanently.

“We've had very few people who heal come back and say hey my problem came back or we need to treat this again, so we are looking for permanent healing,” said Dr. Desjardins.

The procedure is used for other types of injuries and also for face rejuvenation.

Flynn has invited Local 12 to follow up in about six weeks, so those results will be shared at that time.

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