What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
PRP utilizes your body’s own bioactive proteins, also known as growth factors, to replace, repair, and regenerate tissue. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is used to deliver the growth factors directly to the pain initiating site. Research shows that PRP injections are extremely safe, with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication. Because PRP is produced with your own blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. There is a small risk of infection from any injection into the body, but this is rare.
How is PRP obtained?
PRP is a small volume of the patient's own blood plasma concentrated with platelets and leukocytes (white blood cells). PRP is obtained by drawing a sample of blood from the patient and removing the red blood cells and plasma. This technology yields a high concentration of platelets and white blood cells that is 10 times normal.
When is PRP used?
When a tissue injury occurs, platelets collect at the site and begin the clotting cycle. More importantly, these activated platelets release numerous growth factors that are directly responsible for tissue regeneration. Therefore, by increasing the concentration of these platelets, we can deliver a powerful mixture of growth factors directly to the injured tissue and dramatically enhance the body’s natural healing process. This treatment may lead to a more rapid, more efficient, and more thorough restoration of the tissue to a healthy state. The goal of PRP is to regenerate degenerative connective tissue. PRP is often used in the treatment of chronic pain and for the following conditions:
- Tennis Elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Meniscal Tears
- Osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, ankle, and shoulder
How is PRP performed?
In order to properly identify the area of injury, a musculoskeletal ultrasound is used. A local anesthetic will be applied to the area followed by a PRP injection using ultrasound guidance to ensure that the appropriate target is reached.
What should I do following the injection?
Often following the initial injection, an achy soreness is felt at the site of the injury. This soreness is a positive sign that a healing response has been set in motion. This effect can last for several days and gradually decreases as healing and tissue repair occurs. It is important that anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin be avoided following PRP treatments as these medicines may block the effects of the intended healing response. It is acceptable to use Tylenol, apply ice, and elevate as needed. You can resume normal day-to-day activities and light exercise following the injection. Avoid strenuous lifting or high-level exercise for at least several days after the injection.
What is next?
This treatment is not a quick fix and is designed to promote long-term healing of the injured tissue. The regeneration takes 4-6 months and may require multiple injections. For most cases, 1-3 injections are required at 8-12 week intervals. Pain and functional recovery will be assessed 6 weeks after the injection to determine further therapy needs.