PRP Procedures for Meniscus Tears Can Increase Function, Decrease Pain and Minimize Downtime
The meniscus is a very commonly torn fibrocartilage structure in the knee that cushions and supports the joint. The majority of people over the age of 35 are likely to have a meniscus tear (More information on meniscus tears here).
With these injuries, a surgery to remove the meniscus is often recommended . However, one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that patients who received a partial meniscectomy (removal of the meniscus), had no better long-term outcomes than those who received only a simulated surgery . These surgeries–as well as many others for joint pain–can have serious risks like damage to surrounding nerves and tissue, and infection .
Before you consider meniscus removal surgery, see how a non-surgical PRP procedure works step-by-step.
PRP as an Alternative to Surgery
A Platelet Rich Plasma procedure uses growth factors from your blood to promote the repair of damaged tissue. It is particularly effective for the treatment of joint pain, muscle strain, ligament and tendon or meniscus tears, and minor arthritis. There is little to no down time with this procedure, and patients are able to work the next day with little discomfort .
PRP vs. Super Concentrated Platelet from Regenexx
In most clinics PRP is produced automatically from a tabletop centrifuge. Regenexx Super Concentrated Platelet (SCP) is produced in an on-site lab by a technician who takes great care to separate the beneficial platelets into a much more pure mixture with platelet concentrations of up to 20 to 40% higher than normal PRP .
As shown in the visual at the top of this blog, because of its concentration levels of platelets, Regenexx’s Super Concentrated PRP takes on an amber color.
Regenexx PRP Procedure Overview
All Regenexx procedures begin with a very in-depth 60-minute new patient exam. This first appointment reviews all treatment history and does a thorough exam of the affected area.
If a patient chooses to move forward, the SCP protocol usually involves a blood draw and an injection in the same day (or at least within 24 hours). This process applies to procedures for the knee, hip, shoulder, hand, wrist, foot, ankle, and elbow. The process for spine conditions includes an extra step of antibiotics given to reduce the risk of infection along with an epidural containing platelets. Also, Platelet Lysate is often recommended for back and spine treatments due to its fast release and reduced inflammation. (More on Platelet Lysate here.)
PRP Step by Step
The PRP procedure itself is quite simple and takes only about 15 minutes (not counting prep time):
1. The Doctor has already conducted a thorough exam and needs only to review the patient’s previous imaging (like MRIs) and treatment history.
2. The blood that will be used for the PRP is drawn the same day.
3. The patient is given a nerve blocker for pain relief and will be awake for the entire duration of the procedure.
4. The doctor then uses an ultrasound to locate the inflammation and tears that will be the target for the PRP injection.
5. The surface of the skin is then numbed, and anesthetic is injected into the affected area to prevent pain and avoid inhibiting the platelet activity in the muscle.
6. Finally the PRP is injected into the affected area using the ultrasound as guidance. PRP is injected into areas of inflammation, then a higher concentration of PRP is injected into the tendon or areas where there is a tear.
Post procedure it is typical to feel some stiffness and pressure, with possible soreness later in the day. Then, over the next few days the inflammation should go down and the healing platelets should begin to work. The first week should see a return to the patient’s baseline (i.e. whatever pain level the patient was at before the procedure). During week 2, the patient begins physical therapy. Within 2-12 weeks of the procedure the patient should be back to normal everyday activities. 3-6 months post-procedure the patient should have the most significant improvement. This can be seen with less joint pain, fewer flare-ups, quicker recovery, and increased tolerance for activities. In 6-12 months, the patient should be back to doing high-impact activities like hiking, running, or gardening. This improvement can continue for years to come .
PRP vs. Surgery
PRP has been shown to decrease pain and improve use over time. A Study found that in a blind, randomized trial, patients were found to have a 52% improvement in the rate of healing. The procedure also has indicated a decrease in the later need for arthroscopy, a procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. Surgeries, in some cases have even been proven to increase the arthritic process and worsen arthritis at a faster rate . With so much risk, it may be worth considering if an alternative to surgery could be right for you.
Regenexx keeps a registry that tracks outcomes for multiple joint pain procedures. See how Regenexx procedures have been effective for our patients.
Effectiveness of BMC (Bone Marrow Concentrate)
In the case of some larger tears, your Regenexx doctor may recommend using bone marrow concentrate containing the patient’s own live stem cells.
If you have joint pain and think a procedure using PRP or your own bone marrow concentrate might help, find out if you’re a candidate today –Tap the “TALK TO AN EXPERT” BUTTON below.