Q. I’m 55, in my 30th year as a T6 para. I started exercising after a long layoff, overdid it and my right shoulder suddenly became very sore. I tried working through the pain, which made it worse. Transfers are painful and it hurts to push my chair or lift my arm above shoulder level. An MRI revealed multiple, partial tears in my rotator cuff.
I was told I can try physical therapy, but am likely facing shoulder surgery. I dread spending two to three months in a nursing home with my arm in a sling. A friend told me about a new technique to fix rotator cuff tears where they take some of your blood and spin it down to a concentrate, then inject the concentrated blood into the tear, which enables it to heal without surgery. It sounds almost too good to be true. Is there such a procedure? If so, how long does it take and does insurance cover it?
A. The procedure your friend is referring to is called platelet rich plasma therapy. PRP was developed in the 1950s to aid jaw healing during dental procedures. It started to be used in orthopedics and sports medicine about 10 years ago and is often used by professional athletes, notably major league pitchers, to speed healing and avoid season-ending surgery.<