Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a new type of regenerative medicine treatment that uses a specially concentrated mixture of the body’s own platelets and growth factors to promote healing of musculoskeletal injuries. It has shown promise in treating a variety of conditions that have failed more conservative treatments. Professional and amateur athletes alike have used PRP therapy to avoid surgery and to return to play more quickly.
How does PRP therapy work?
A concentrated mixture of platelets and other growth factors, known as PRP (platelet rich plasma), is isolated from a small sample of your own blood. This is achieved through a centrifuge process in your doctor’s office whereby your blood is spun down to separate and concentrate the platelets and growth factors that augment healing. The PRP is then injected into the injured area to stimulate and enhance the body’s healing response. When used in appropriate and carefully selected cases, PRP can help those with persistent musculoskeletal pain and who have plateaued in their treatment.
Benefits of PRP therapy include:
- Decreased pain
- Improved healing potential
- Improved function
- Quicker recovery from injury
Are there different types of PRP?
Not all PRP is created the same. There are a number of different PRP systems that are now available, and each machine generates PRP in a different manner. As a result, the concentration and quality of the PRP product is different. Based on the scientific literature, we want to generate PRP that has the highest possible concentration of platelets and growth factors that will help to stimulate tissue healing. Our Pure PRP system yields the highest concentrations of platelets and important growth factors while removing the most impurities that are counterproductive to healing.
How do I know where the PRP is going once it is injected?
Our physicians utilize ultrasound image guidance during the procedure to visualize the exact location of the site of injury and where the PRP would be best placed. Ultrasound allows both the physician and patient to visualize a live picture of the target area so that the PRP can be injected as accurately as possible. Injection of PRP into an unaffected area can actually cause potential injury to healthy tissue, so accuracy is important for both reasons.
Are there side effects?
Your own blood is used to create the PRP, so the risk of an allergic or adverse reaction is minimal, particularly when compared to a medicinal or surgical options. The procedure is done under sterile conditions, so the risk of infection is minimized. You may experience some discomfort during the procedure as well as increased soreness at the injection site for a few days afterwards. Patients are advised to avoid anti-inflammatory medications for a certain period of time after the procedure. Normal exercise or physical activities that can involve that region should be held until further advised by their physician.
How long does it take?
The entire process takes approximately 1-1.5 hours, including recovery time. The full response to PRP therapy typically takes a period of weeks.
How often do I need to have this procedure done?
Each patient’s treatment is individualized. If considerable improvement or complete relief of symptoms is noted after the first or second injection, there may not be a need for additional injections at that point. Some patients may benefit from repeat injections and is recommended on an individual basis.
What are the expected results?
On average, you should start to notice a response in 4-6 weeks time after the procedure. Improvement with PRP therapy may well be progressive over time. You should follow up with your physician as directed to monitor your progress.