What are some of the conditions that are being treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy?
The world around changes so quickly that it’s really hard to keep up, isn’t it? Nowhere is that truer than with medical technology and treatment innovations. If someone told you that they were getting PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments for their tendonitis, would you have any idea what that meant or would you wonder if it might be some fringe type alternative therapy?
Chances are, however, that while you may not be familiar with PRP, you have at least heard of Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant or Rafael Nadal. Each of these superstars of their respective sports has used platelet-rich plasma treatments to not only decrease the amount of time it took to recover from injuries but to also avoid the need for additional surgery.
Platelet-Rich Plasma – What Is It?
Everyone knows that blood plasma contains both red and white blood cells. In addition, the plasma contains a third type of cell, thrombocytes, which are more commonly known as platelets. These platelets are largely made up of growth proteins and play a big part in healing, especially in the clotting process. Obviously, having plasma with a higher concentration of these healing-related cells would seem to be a way of enhancing the healing process. This led to the development of platelet-rich plasma.
To start, blood is drawn from the patient and a small portion of that blood is put through a process in which the platelets are removed and concentrated. Then, in their new state which is much richer in growth proteins, the platelets are returned to the original blood sample, which is reinjected back into the patient at the site of the injury. The new level of concentration of platelets in the blood being introduced into the area of injury can be up to five or ten times more than normal blood plasma.
What Does It Treat?
Platelet-rich plasma is currently being used to treat or complement the treatment of a wide variety of injuries and conditions, especially in the sporting world. Some of the more common conditions include:
- Injuries to the Achilles tendon, common among many athletes
- speeding wound healing
- injuries to ligament and tendon
- tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
- golf elbow (medial epicondylitis)
- jumpers knee, often seen in basketball players and other athletes that ask a lot of their knees, involves inflammation of the tendons around the kneecap
- tendonitis of the rotator cuff in the shoulder
Benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Research is continuing to increase our understanding of the potential value of PRP as well as to document its effectiveness. At present, some of the ways that patients are reporting success with platelet-rich plasma include:
- The reduction of pain
- Less time required for recovery, both in the level of healing and functionality
- Decreased need for additional surgeries
What may be one of the greatest benefits of PRP is that it is unlikely to have any negative side effects or reactions. The body’s immune system is not activated and so cannot overreact since the process requires the use of nothing other than the individual’s own blood. With proper care in a professional setting, there should be little chance of any adverse outcome.
PRP therapy is showing a lot of promise. This is especially good news for those who have not had as much success with other treatment modalities as they had hoped. In time, it is our hope that more conclusive studies will be conducted to better understand the true utility of PRP in the treatment of musculoskeletal and spinal disorders. Additionally, such investigations will allow us to ultimately standardize and approach which is most likely to be beneficial in a more diagnosis-specific fashion.
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our physicians are committed to more than just treating your symptoms. We strongly believe that each individual is best served through an integrative treatment plan. We focus on finding the underlying cause and providing non-surgical, evidenced-based solutions tailored to your specific condition and needs. If you have questions about PRP or any other service or condition, we invite you to schedule a consultation by using our convenient online form by clicking here.
Posted in: Musculoskeletal Medicine