Autologous Blood Injection (ABI)
AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD or PLATELET RICH PLASMA INJECTION
This procedure involves injecting your own blood into your tendon to help it heal. This technique involves taking some of your own blood out of an arm vein and immediately re-injecting it into your tendon, commonly the Achilles tendon or extensor tendon of the elbow.
Autologous Blood Injection into tendons does appear to be successful in both a pilot study that we performed and in a study which has been written up in the American medical press.
We have also used this technique in patellar tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis. The theory behind this treatment is that taking the blood out of circulation causes it to release the healing factors which are usually released when we cut or otherwise injure ourselves. A second reason that it may work is from the mechanical division of the fibres of the tendon which is how some surgery is performed.
Do not expect any improvement for 3 to 6 weeks after the injection as this is the time it takes your body to go through the healing process, however, some patients have said that it works almost immediately.
During the healing process about 10% of patients may experience severe pain in the injected tendon for 1 to 7 days. This should be treated symptomatically with ice, elevation and Panadol.
If you have had your Achilles tendon injected, it is important to keep the calf muscles active to prevent a DVT occurring.
Apart from pain we have had no adverse effects and although there is a theoretical risk of tendon rupture, this has not happened to date.
AFTER THE INJECTION
• Follow any instructions from your referring practitioner or physiotherapist
• Avoid heavy activity for two weeks
• After two weeks, resume lighter activity
• Gradually resume heavy activity after four weeks
• A second injection maybe required however you should consult with your referring practitioner first as you will require another referral / request
• After elbow injections, some patients find it useful to wear a splint around their wrist or elbow for the first 2 weeksDownload Patient Information Sheet (PDF)