Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
In the last 20 years, doctors have learned that the body has the ability to heal itself. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses the body’s own abilities by utilizing, in concentrated form, the natural growth factors your body uses to heal tissue, especially injured tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joint spaces.
PRP in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Plasma is the liquid portion of blood. Platelets are blood cells that cause blood clots but they are also necessary in healing. Platelets synthesize and release more than 1,100 biologically active proteins, including those that promote tissue regeneration and accelerate the healing process. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy utilizes injections of concentrated patient’s own platelets in order to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient’s own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems. It is believed that the concentrated (3-8 times) platelet proteins, a mixture of growth factors, cytokines and chemokines play an important role in the healing process.
PRP injections are prepared at the Doctor’s office right before the procedure. The physician uses a tube of the patient’s own blood (a simple blood draw) and passes it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These activated platelets are then injected directly into your injured or diseased body tissue (joint, tendon, or ligament). The released growth factors will stimulate the existing reparative cells and accelerate the healing process.
Major advantages of PRP injections are that they can reduce the need for anti-inflammatories and analgesics. Recent publications have raised doubts about the efficacy and safety of the more common injections used in sports medicine and rheumatology. In particular, corticosteroid injections have been linked to more frequent recurrence (e.g. tennis or golf elbow) and, possibly, toxicity after recurrent exposure to the joint cartilage. The side effects of PRP injections are rare since the injected material is created from the patients’ own blood.
Applications of PRP injections
- Chronic Refractory Joint pain from arthritis
- Meniscal/labral tears
- Tendinitis and Enthesitis
- Partial tendon tears
- Ligament sprains
- Plantar fasciitis