Distribution of Platelet-rich Plasma after Ultrasound-Guided Injection for Chronic Elbow Tendinopathies
Characteristics of the spreads of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are not widely known despite commonly use. This study aims to evaluate whether PRP stays within the injected area by using ultrasonography, to improve understanding of the spreads of intratendinous injected PRP. Thirty-nine patients (15 males, 24 females; mean age, 49.3 years), who had symptoms on their elbows (> 6 months) and diagnosed as lateral (25 elbows) or medial (14 elbows) tendinopathies of elbow, were included. The severity of tendon pathology was assessed by ultrasonography as tear or no tear. Immediately after ultrasound-guided PRP injection, ultrasound images were evaluated to assess the area of PRP distribution, which was defined as the presence of fluid or microbubbles. Ultrasound revealed that 13 elbows had tendon tear and 26 had no tear, respectively. Post-injection ultrasound confirmed the injected PRP was within the tendon in all cases. The mean distance of distribution from the injection site was 12.6 mm (5.0-26.0 mm). There was no difference in the distance of PRP distribution between tendon tear and no tear. Injected PRP spread to soft tissue outside the tendon in 20 of 39 cases. Intra-articular extension of PRP was observed in 5 cases. Although PRP remained intratendinous after the injection in all cases, some portion tended to spread outside from the injection site in a short space of time. Postinjection ultrasonographic imaging has a value for observing the spreading patterns of intratendinous PRP injection.