Autologous Blood Injection
INFORMATION ON AUTOLOGOUS BLOOD INJECTION (ABI'S)
This procedure involves injecting your own blood into your tendons to try and heal them. Autologous blood injection (ABI) into tendons is a relatively new technique, which has been used successfully in pilot studies in Australia, America and Europe and has already been utilised by many elite sporting bodies in these countries.
ABI's involve taking some of your own blood and immediately reinjecting it into one of your tendons. Tendons commonly injected include the Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, hamstrings tendons and common extensor and flexor tendons about the elbow (tennis elbow and golfer's elbow). It is also used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
The injected blood works by stimulating the release of healing factors that are usually released when we cut or injure ourselves. It also works by the mechanical division of the tendon fibres which is how some surgery is performed.
Do not expect any improvement for 3 to 6 weeks after injection as this is the time it takes your body to go through the healing process. However, some patients have stated that it works almost immediately.
During the healing process about 10% of patients will experience severe pain in the injected tendon for 1 to 7 days. This should be treated symptomatically with ice, elevation and Paracetamol.
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, there are no adverse effects but there is a theoretical risk of tendon rupture however this has not happened to date.
AFTER THE INJECTION
- No high impact activity for the first 2 weeks
- Then slowly reintroduce activity
- Resumption of high impact activity after 4 weeks
After the injections, some patients find it useful to wear a splint around their elbow for the first 2 weeks.