Our elbow is often prone to the risk of developing various injuries that can either be minor or severe injuries. An elbow injury affects the hand movement that causes decreased range of motion to a great extent. An ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is one of the complex ligaments in the inner side of the elbow. It helps to stabilize the elbow during various elbow movements. Ulnar collateral ligament tear or injury is a sudden tear that occurs due to repetitive elbow movements.
Stem cell therapy and super concentrated platelets (SCP) therapy is an effective non-surgical treatment for UCL tears that avoids the need for surgery. Non-surgical UCL tear treatments provide faster recovery and rehabilitation that helps a person to get back routines or play their favorite sport much faster than they anticipated.
Conventional orthopedic treatment often involves more medications, physical therapy and surgery in the cases non-operative treatments fail to address the problem. Regenerative orthopedic specialists are experts in providing minimally-invasive therapies for various musculoskeletal conditions that require surgery.
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears
The ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow often undergoes repeated stress, especially in athletes who play sports that involve throwing. The ulnar collateral ligament rarely occurs due to the stress resulting from everyday activities.
Ulnar ligament tear of the elbow causes localized soreness where it causes difficulty to continue the activity with ease. UCL tear causes swelling and bruising at the site of injury along with elbow stiffness. A person with UCL tear might not be able to straighten the elbow and often experiences weakness while trying to grip an object.
UCL Tear Treatment
Usually, sprains are divided into three grades depending on the severity of the injury. In case of a first-degree sprain, the ligament is not stretched but causes pain. A second-degree sprain results in a stretched ligament, whereas, the ligament gets torn and does not function in a third-degree sprain. UCL tear is classified as a third-degree sprain where the ligament is torn and does not typically heal by itself.
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear is diagnosed with an X-ray or MRI scan helps the doctor to evaluate the changes in the ulnar collateral ligament. However, an MRI scan increases the accuracy of the diagnosis when compared to an X-ray scan as it shows up the soft tissues in a much clearer way.
The surgery for UCL tears is known as ‘Tommy John Surgery’, which is named after a baseball player who underwent surgery for an ulnar collateral ligament tear in the year 1974. Surgical repair for UCL injuries of the elbow takes several weeks for recovery and rehabilitation. Also, surgery for UCL tears might have certain associated complications like the risk of post-surgical infections and prolonged periods of immobilization of treated joint.
Non-surgical treatment for UCL tears
Torn UCL elbow recovery with stem cell therapy is much faster and effective when compared to surgery. Also, UCL tear treatment with stem cells enables the regrowth of the healthy tissue without altering the structural integrity of the elbow joint.
For the treatment for a UCL tear, stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow of the patient and processed in a laboratory for further clinical use. Such concentrated stem cells are infused at the site of injury under image-guidance to precisely place them at the site of injury. Stem cells work at the damaged site to repair the tissue and replace it with a healthy one.
Similarly, super concentrated platelets (SCP) therapy is an effective regenerative therapy to treat UCL tears non-surgically. During the process, blood is collected from the patient’s, and plasma is extracted in a laboratory. The plasma is concentrated to obtain the desired concentrate that is essential for the treatment. The platelet-rich plasma is injected into the site of the injury, which releases growth factors to heal the damaged tissue.
Frequently asked question (FAQ)
How do stem cells work for ulnar collateral ligament tears of the elbow?
Stem cells are the specialized cells in the human body that enable the body’s natural healing mechanism to treat various musculoskeletal conditions, including ligament tears. Stem cells that are sourced from the bone marrow of the patient are concentrated and infused at the site of injury. Stem cells release specific essential components that aid in the healing of the damaged tissue. As the stem cells begin to work on the damaged site, the pain and swelling resulting from a UCL tear gradually reduces after a few weeks of the treatment.
Is SCP therapy effective for ulnar ligament injury of the elbow?
SCP injections are an effective minimally-invasive, non-surgical treatment option for treating a UCL tear. The concentrated platelets that are injected at the site of injury release growth factors that repair the damaged tissue and regrow healthy tissue by accelerating the body’s natural healing mechanism.