Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is one of several minimally invasive therapies in the burgeoning frontier of Orthobiologics. Platelets are essential to the wound healing process. By isolating growth-factor-rich platelets from your blood and injecting them into areas of soft and joint tissue damage, PRP has demonstrated promise in its ability to facilitate the recovery of joint issues and soft tissue injuries to muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
What is PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is one of several therapies in the expanding frontier of regenerative medicine. Platelets have growth factors which help with healing and reducing pain. By isolating growth-factor rich platelets from your blood and injecting them into areas of joint and soft tissue damage, PRP has shown promise in its ability to treat degenerative joint disease and aid in the recovery of soft tissue injuries to tendons, muscles and ligaments.
The Science of PRP
Platelets play an important role in directing and accelerating your body’s normal healing process, by setting off a chain of events governed by signaling cells. These platelet derived growth factors contribute to the processes of tissue repair and regeneration at the injury site.
Research Supports PRP Therapy
There has been a growing body of basic science and clinical research demonstrating the effectiveness of PRP. Reported benefits have included reduced bleeding, diminished pain levels, decreased infection rates, enhanced wound closure, accelerated tissue regeneration, and reduction of overall healing times. Benefits have been described in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including chronic patellar, Achilles, and elbow tendon injuries, rotator cuff injuries, and osteoarthritis of the knee.
There are Level 1 Studies recommending PRP for reducing pain and improving function for knee arthritis and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the NBA have been in support of it for mild to moderate knee arthritis.
For Tendon Conditions there are several Level 1 studies in support of reducing pain and improving function in tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, patella tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Getting Ready for the Procedure
Prior to the procedure, ypu should be rested and well hydrated. You will be requested to discontinue taking blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as aspirin, 2 weeks prior to the procedure and for 4 weeks following. These medications will counteract the effects of PRP.
The PRP Technique
A PRP injection is performed in the clinic.. A small amount of blood is drawn and then placed into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins and concentrates the platelets in roughly 15 minutes. With this technique, it is possible to achieve platelet concentrations up to eight times higher than normal, which can then be utilized for the procedure.
During the procedure, we will use an antiseptic to clean the site of the injection. Your skin and muscle tissue will then be numbed with local anesthetic. Image guidance of ultrasound will be used to visualize the injured area and assist in precisely placing the injected material into the desired location. It is common to experience mild discomfort during this part of the procedure. The entire process usually takes about one hour.
Following the injection, and after the anesthetic wears off, you may experience worsening of pain for several days, as the introduction of PRP will stimulate an inflammatory reaction at the site of the injection. This is a desired effect and it is important to avoid anti-inflammatory medication for four weeks and ice for 1 week after the procedure. Because PRP is composed of your own blood, there is a minimal risk of disease transmission and allergic reactions.
Consensus Statements on PRP
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
PRP NBA Consensus Statement