Biologic treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) offer patients a chance to improve symptoms and potentially enhance their healing potential for various orthopedic problems.
What Is PRP Treatment for the Shoulder?
Partial rotator cuff tears and shoulder arthritis are the main applications of PRP treatments in the shoulder.
Using PRP for shoulder arthritis, like in the knee, can be very effective and help mitigate the symptoms, including the pain, inflammation, swelling. PRP shoulder treatments can help slow down the progression of arthritis by protecting the cartilage still there.
It can also be utilized to treat partial tears of the rotator cuff. However, if you have a complete tear of the rotator cuff, it will not help that heal.
Does PRP Help Frozen Shoulder?
Some early studies have just come out in the last year or two that are pretty exciting in treating frozen shoulder. It’s a small number of studies, but I have utilized PRP in a frozen shoulder, and I do think that it helps.
There’s not a huge amount of data yet, so I have a hard time recommending it as a primary therapy.
Most of the time, I recommend starting simple and doing a steroid shot for patients with frozen shoulder.
For those patients who want to be more aggressive and do the newest, latest, greatest, I’m happy to do PRP for frozen shoulder, and I believe it helps. But we just don’t have a lot of data yet.
What Should I Do After PRP Injection?
The most important thing is I tell patients is to avoid impact.
In 10 years of utilizing it, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter that much in terms of really protecting activity aside from avoiding impact.
But getting back on a bike or elliptical and walking, and just normal daily activities, are all perfectly fine.
I do ask patients to avoid anti-inflammatory medications for a week before PRP therapy and for a couple of weeks after.
How Many PRP Injections Are Needed for the Shoulder?
When it comes to the number of PRP injections for shoulder arthritis, I typically recommend the same thing as I do for the knee, which is a series of three injections spread out by about a week or so.
As for PRP injections for the rotator cuff and other tissue injections, I usually recommend doing two, and I spread them apart by about a month.
The reason I do that is you can get quite sore after when you do a PRP injection because you’re injecting it actually into the rotator cuff tissue. Doing them stacked really close together is not a lot of fun.