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TFCC Tear Overview

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a structure consisting of various tissues and cartilage in the wrist. It helps hold the forearm bones together and supports the movement of your wrist and hand. It also helps to absorb shocks and provide stability during wrist movements.

A TFCC tear occurs when the tissues and cartilage become frayed or torn, leading to pain and instability in the wrist. TFCC tears can be caused by repetitive use of the wrist, trauma, and degenerative processes.

Symptoms Of A TFCC Tear

The symptoms of a TFCC tear vary based on how severe the injury is, but some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Swelling at the wrist
  • Pain on the outside of the wrist
  • Weakness in grip strength
  • Clicking or popping sensations when moving the wrist
  • Tenderness at specific areas within the wrist and forearm
  • Difficulty with activities that require twisting or rotating
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Conventional Treatment Options

If the tear is diagnosed as mild, then rest, splinting, and ice therapy may be recommended as a course of treatment. Resting the wrist for several days or weeks is essential for the tissues to heal correctly. However, resting the wrist can be challenging due to how vital it is for many daily activities. Additionally, anything more than a mild tear can cause pain and other symptoms, especially when moving the wrist. Therefore, traditional doctors may prescribe treatment to address the pain and recommend surgery for more severe tears.

Corticosteroid Injections

If you’re experiencing pain due to a TFCC tear, corticosteroid injections are one of the most common conventional treatments. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications injected at the site of the problem to help reduce swelling and pain.

However, it is vital to remember that this type of treatment requires multiple injections over a period of time to be effective. Additionally, if you depend on corticosteroids for too long, they can lead to side effects such as joint damage and weakened bones.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are another conventional option to help alleviate pain caused by a TFCC tear. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of certain inflammatory enzymes, leading to reduced swelling and lessened pain. While NSAIDs can be effective, they can also result in side effects, which can include stomach irritation and an increased risk of kidney damage if used long-term.

Arthroscopic Repair

For more severe TFCC tears, arthroscopic repair is often recommended. During this surgical procedure, a tiny camera is placed into the joint so the surgeon can inspect and repair any damage to the tissue or cartilage. This is done using small instruments to remove the damaged pieces and re-attach the healthy parts.

This type of procedure often requires a long period of recovery. Additionally, any kind of surgery — no matter how “minimally invasive,” will present a risk of complications, such as allergic reactions, infections, and even nerve damage.

Arthroscopic Debridement

Arthroscopic debridement is another surgical option for TFCC tears. Any damaged or frayed tissue is removed from the area during this procedure. Debridement can help reduce pain and improve range of motion in the affected joint. However, since this is still a surgical procedure, it presents some risks and requires an extended period of recovery time.

Ulnar Shortening

Sometimes, a TFCC tear is caused (or exacerbated) by the ulnar bone in your wrist being too long. If the ulnar bone is positioned too close to the wrist joint, it can lead to increased friction and wear and tear on the TFCC. To address this issue, a procedure known as ulnar shortening can be performed. During this surgery, a small portion of the ulnar bone is removed to help reduce friction and improve the joint’s range of motion.

Wafer Procedure

The wafer procedure is a form of arthroscopic surgery that is used to treat TFCC tears. During this procedure, the torn fragments are cleaned and removed. Then a small bone graft is placed within the joint to act as a cushion between the bones and protect the integrity of the joint. The wafer consists of a tiny piece of bone covered by either a small cartilage or a synthetic graft material. Like any previously mentioned surgical procedures, the wafer procedure is very invasive and comes with its own risks and a long period of recovery.


What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma, Or PRP?

PRP is a form of regenerative medicine that harnesses your body’s natural ability to heal itself. Creating a PRP solution involves harvesting a small amount of your own blood. That blood sample is then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and plasma. This concentrated platelet solution is then injected into the affected area.

PRP works by stimulating the body’s own healing response to help protect and repair damaged tissue. It does this by triggering the release of growth factors, which stimulate and accelerate the healing process. PRP injections also contain natural growth factors that can promote tissue regeneration, which is essential for treating musculoskeletal injuries.


PRP For TFCC Tears

Because TFCC tears involve damage to the soft tissues of the wrist, PRP can be an effective treatment option. By injecting a concentrated platelet solution into the damaged area, PRP can help reduce inflammation and pain while also stimulating tissue regeneration.

Additionally, since it uses your own body’s cells, there is no risk of allergic reactions or other serious complications associated with traditional medications or surgeries.


Why Are Orthagenex PRP Injections Superior?

PRP treatment may not be conventional, but it is becoming increasingly popular. PRP injections have been shown to be safe and effective. However, their safety and effectiveness depend on how PRP solutions are processed and delivered. Here at Orthagenex, we provide superior PRP treatments because our team of orthopedic doctors can offer safer and more effective PRP injections as a result of the following:

Image-Guidance To Place PRP solutions

Unlike many PRP providers, we do not provide blind injections. A blind injection is when any kind of medication or treatment is injected into the body without using any imaging to help guide the injection. Blind injections can lead to inaccurate placement of PRP solutions and ineffective treatments.

At Orthagenex, we use image-guidance technology such as MSK (musculoskeletal) ultrasound and fluoroscopy to ensure the most precise placement of our PRP solutions right where they’re needed. By using real-time imaging, we can accurately target specific areas within the tissue and inject only the necessary amount of PRP for maximum effectiveness.

Lab-Processed For Higher Concentrations Of Platelets

Most PRP solutions are processed in bedside centrifuges. While these solutions can still be effective, our PRP solutions are lab-processed. This allows us to customize our PRP solutions to meet the individual needs of our patients. For example, we can create solutions with higher concentrations of platelets (upwards of 10 to 30 times as many as traditionally processed PRP solutions) or add other components like growth factors to enhance the healing response.

By using a lab-processed PRP solution, we can provide greater levels of care and precision for each patient’s specific injury. The following are two of the ways that we can customize our solutions:

 Amber PRP vs Red PRP

When a PRP solution is processed in a bedside centrifuge, it’s known as a “red PRP” solution. This is because it contains a high concentration of red and white blood cells, thereby giving the solution its red color.

When we process our PRP solutions in the lab, we can separate out the red and white blood cells and create an “amber PRP” solution. This kind of solution has a higher concentration of platelets and fewer red and white blood cells, which gives it its amber color.

We do this because red and white blood cells have been shown to cause an inflammatory response, which can counteract the healing effects of the platelets.

Next-Generation Platelet Lysate

In addition to our amber PRP solutions, we can use our lab platform to create next-generation platelet lysate (PL), a solution with an even higher concentration of platelets and growth factors. It’s even less likely to trigger an inflammatory response than our amber PRP solutions, so we often use PL injections to treat musculoskeletal injuries near the spine.

Additionally, PL injections work more quickly because they release their growth factors more rapidly than regular PRP injections, which release their growth factors more slowly over time (similar to a time-release medication).

PRP Customized To Every Patient’s Need

No PRP treatment is the same, by nature of it being made from a patient’s own cells. However, by processing our PRP solutions in a lab, we have even more control over creating a PRP solution optimized for each patient’s needs.

Treatments Are Customized Using Lab-Processed PRP Solution

We can remove any components that may hinder the healing process (like red and white blood cells or anticoagulants) and add components that will further enhance the healing process, such as growth factors. This allows us to create a tailored PRP solution customized for each individual patient and their specific injury.

Bone Marrow Concentrate Can Be Used

We can also add bone marrow concentrate to our PRP treatment. This is something we do often, based on the patient’s condition. Bone marrow contains mesenchymal stem cells and growth factors that can help promote the regeneration of damaged tissue. This makes it an effective addition to our PRP treatment, as it can further enhance its healing capabilities.

Doctors Specializing In Interventional Orthopedics

In addition to using advanced technology to process and deliver our PRP treatments, our orthopedic doctors are also highly trained. They are all board-certified and fellowship-trained in interventional orthopedics, which is a subspecialty in orthopedic medicine focusing on the use of minimally invasive treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

This means that our doctors are highly qualified to provide superior PRP treatments, as they have extensive experience with advanced musculoskeletal procedures. Across the US, only 1% of physicians are trained in interventional orthopedics, so these doctors are especially qualified to provide the highest quality of care available.

Core Competencies

Our orthopedic doctors have years of experience in the field and specialize in PRP treatment for TFCC tears using advanced image guidance technology to place injectates. We also use SANS (stability, articulation, neuromuscular, and symmetry) evaluations to correctly diagnose musculoskeletal conditions and treat our patients properly.


Orthagenex – Your Alternative To TFCC Tear Surgery

TFCC tears can be incredibly painful and debilitating, but that doesn’t mean you must resort to surgery. At Orthagenex, we use PRP treatments that are customized through lab processing and guided by imaging technology to provide the best care for our patients. Our interventional orthopedic specialists are highly qualified to provide superior care, and our treatments allow us to target the area of injury precisely with fewer risks and less downtime than traditional surgery.

If you’re suffering from a TFCC tear and looking for an alternative to surgery, look no further than Orthagenex. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help relieve the pain of your TFCC tear with PRP injections.

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