A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of the upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder that worsens at night.
Rotator cuff injuries are common and increase with age. These injuries may occur earlier in people who have jobs that require repeatedly performing overhead motions, such as painters and carpenters, and sports injuries.
Treatment of a rotator cuff injury can be conservative and include rest, ice, and physical therapy. Other more invasive procedures include steroid injections which typically provide only temporary pain relief and can also weaken the tendon and reduce the success of a future surgery when needed.
Use of Regenerative Medicine
In a recently published study, researchers evaluated the use of platelet-rich plasma and compared it with hyaluronic acid injections.
Platelets are a part of the blood that allows your body to clot. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is produced by spinning the blood in a centrifuge so that it separates. In addition to PRP, the process can produce other items such as platelet-poor plasma (PPP) and platelet lysate (PL).
For the study, the team compared the effects of ultrasound-guided single PRP injection with 3 doses of hyaluronic acid injection, combined with post-injection rehabilitation. Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), range of motion (ROM), pain visual analog scale (VAS), and Constant-Murley Shoulder Score (CMSS) were recorded before the injection, and at 1 and 3 months post-treatment.
The study included a total of 48 participants with partial-thickness rotator cuff tears. 24 received the PRP injection and 24 the hyaluronic acid injection.
In the PRP group, SPADI scores, VAS scores, and CMSS significantly improved at 1-month and 3-month follow-up; flexion and abduction ROM significantly increased at 3-month follow-up. Similar results were observed with the 3 hyaluronic acid injections.
The researchers concluded that the use of a single dose of PRP was comparable to 3 hyaluronic acid injections in patients with partial-thickness rotator cuff tears.
Huang SH, Hsu PC, Wang KA, Chou CL, Wang JC. Comparison of single platelet-rich plasma injection with hyaluronic acid injection for partial-thickness rotator cuff tears. J Chin Med Assoc. 2022 Apr 26. doi: 10.1097/JCMA.0000000000000736. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35507030.