Platelet-Rich Plasma Treats Tendon and Ligament Problems

A Cornell University scientist recently showed that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can enhance healing and quality of repair at the cellular level in treating tendonitis and suspensory ligament desmitis. Lisa A. Fortier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, assistant professor of large animal surgery at Cornell, is also studying whether PRP reduces susceptibility to re-injury.

Historically, treatment has included icing, supportive bandaging, medication, and rehabilitative exercise. While valuable, these methods often don't restore the tendon or ligament to normal, leaving the horse prone to reinjury.

PRP is a blood byproduct made by centrifugation of the patient's blood. It's rich in platelets, a reservoir of growth factors. Fortier said, "Because PRP is a natural, patient-derived product, there is virtually no chance of rejection by the body or disease transmission."

This study phase was done in the lab on PRP-treated tendons, which showed increased synthesis of normal collagen and other normal tendon components. Fortier uses PRP injections along with traditional therapies to treat tendonitis. Fortier thinks PRP would be useful in treating chronic tendon cases.

Fortier said the real test will be treated horses' re-entry into performance, which she will be monitoring this year.

About the Author

Amy DeGeer Oberdorf

Amy DeGeer Oberdorf is a freelance writer in Midland, Michigan. She contributes regularly to Performance Horse magazine and has also written for The Reiner, Perfect Horse, Quarter Horse News, and Horse Show magazine. Throughout her lifetime, she has studied multiple riding diciplines, and for the last 12 years has been an avid reining competitor. She is also a 4-H judge.

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