Ultrasound aids delivery of degenerative disease therapy

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

December 2, 2013 -- Ultrasound-guided delivery of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) improves functionality and reduces recovery time in athletes with degenerative disease in their tendons, according to a study presented on Monday at RSNA 2013.

With PRP therapy, blood is collected from patients and spun in a centrifuge to separate the PRP from other blood components. The PRP is then injected under ultrasound guidance into the target area to stimulate cellular growth and healing.

Dr. Alice La Marra, a radiology resident at the University of L'Aquila in Italy, and colleagues evaluated PRP in 50 athletes with degenerative tendinosis in the Achilles tendon and 30 athletes with tendinosis in the patellar tendon.

The patients underwent ultrasound-guided PRP every 21 days for a total of three treatments. MRI was performed before the procedures and 30 days and one year after the last treatment.

Patients with tendinosis of the Achilles tendon saw an overall improvement of 80% in pain and a 53% improvement in functionality after the PRP treatment. Patients with tendinosis in the patellar tendon saw a 75% improvement in pain and a 50% improvement in functionality.

The signal intensity on MRI, which provides a measure of tissue integrity, normalized in 90% of the PRP patients.

PRP therapy may be a viable alternative for treating Achilles and patellar tendinopathy in athletes, allowing for a more efficient recovery, La Marra and colleagues concluded.

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