What Is Regenerative Injection Therapy?

Make an Appointment

Call 1-800-533-UPMC (533-8762) to make an appointment with a doctor from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Regenerative injection therapy (RIT) is a treatment for chronic pain caused by unhealed injuries around:

  • Cartilage
  • Joints
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Tendons

Regenerative injection therapy, or treatment, mainly treats joint and chronic pain, in addition to muscle injuries. Treatments involve the injection of a natural solution, some including your own plasma, into the affected muscle tissue. 

Injection therapy helps repair your tendons and ligaments by encouraging healing and new, healthy tissue to form.

Benefits of Regenerative Injection Therapy

When you injure tissue, it sends a signal to the body to begin the healing process.

During this process, your body removes damaged tissue and replaces it with new, healthy tissue, creating an inflammatory state that can be painful.

Anti-inflammatories or steroids treat the pain of inflammation, but can suppress the healing process.

RIT, however, seeks to replicate the normal, tissue-healing process by injecting a substance into the tissue that stimulates your body’s natural ability to heal.

Benefits of regenerative injection treatment include:

  • An increase in movement and functional ability
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Reduced pain levels
  • Possible alternative to prescription medication or surgical procedures

Common Conditions Treated by RIT

RIT is useful in treating repetitive stress injuries that never have sufficient time to heal properly, and other injuries that do not heal completely. It also helps repair certain conditions that are commonly treated by surgery.

Injuries and conditions commonly treated by RIT procedures include:

  • Ligament injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Tennis elbow

Types of Regenerative Injection Therapy

The doctors at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation offer two types of RIT: prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma.

What is prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy works by injecting a highly concentrated glucose solution at the tendon and ligament attachment site. The resulting inflammation will naturally stimulate the body to begin the healing process.

What is platelet rich plasma?​

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) works by injecting a biological concentrate of your own platelets, called a tissue graft, into the damaged area using ultrasound-guided injection technology. The graft is embedded into your damaged or diseased tissue to stimulate recovery.

To grow the tissue graft, we draw your blood — similar to a routine blood test — and place it in a special centrifuge machine. This machine creates a tissue graft of platelets, rich in growth factors and inflammatory mediators essential for healing wounds.

Because the PRP graft contains at least six times the concentration of your own platelets and growth factors, it helps accelerate tissue repair and regeneration.

Most people require two to three injections every six to eight weeks.​

What to Expect at a Regenerative Injection Therapy Appointment

During an injection therapy appointment, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic to the site where he or she will inject the solution.

Following your appointment, it is normal to feel small amounts of pain or soreness, and experience inflammation at the injection site. Do not participate in any rigorous activity immediately after your appointment or while you are receiving injection treatment.

Doctors recommend taking acetaminophen for the pain, and applying ice or heat as necessary. Any discomfort typically lasts up to five days. If your pain persists, make a follow up appointment prior to your next injection appointment.

Make an Appointment for Regenerative Injection Therapy

For more information or to make an appointment for regenerative injection therapy, visit the department’s Contact Us page or call 412-692-4400.​

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