One area of interest for a sports medicine doctors right now is PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma or stem cells. They are different – stem cells are undifferentiated and stem cells can become just about anything in your body. PRP is not. PRP is Platelet Rich Plasma, which are the platelets in your body that have been shown to help with healing in certain tissues. There’s interest in using PRP in the rotator cuff, but the data to date shows no significant improvement with using PRP or stem cells, for instance, when repairing the rotator cuff. It’s something that’s interesting and perhaps in the future will be something that we use commonly for rotator cuff repairs or for conservative management of partial thickness rotator cuff tears. It certainly would not be unreasonable to try PRP, for instance, for a partial thickness rotator cuff tear but one of the problems with PRP and stem cells is cost. PRP might cost $1,000 for an injection. Stem cells can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,500 or perhaps even more for a one-time injection. They are cost prohibitive and there’s no great data right now to support the use of PRP or stem cells for rotator cuff tears.
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