Platelet Rich Plasma.
The liquid of life.
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is a substance intended to promote healing when injected. Plasma is a component of your blood that contains special “factors,” or proteins, that help your blood to clot and also contains proteins that support cell growth. PRP is produced by isolating plasma from blood and concentrating it.
Through a variety of applications, PRP is injecting into tissue to will stimulate your body to grow new, healthy cells and promote healing. Because the tissue growth factors are more concentrated in the prepared growth injections, researchers believe the body’s tissues may heal faster. PRP was made popular by professional athletes and weekend warriors through its treatment of season-ending symptoms including swelling, stiffness, inflammation, tenderness, and pain
What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy?
Platelet rich plasma, commonly referred to as “PRP’, is a non-operative therapy for conditions such as arthritis and ligament/tendon sprains and tears. Utilizing the body’s natural healing process, PRP therapy is a concentration of platelets that are injected into the damaged tissue, ligaments, tendons, and joints to promote tissue repair and accelerate healing. Platelets are rich in growth and healing factors which means, on average, an individual can experience healing and tissue restoration using the body’s own plasma within four to six weeks.
What are applications of PRP?
The medical community has been utilizing PRP injections across a number of applications, including:
- Hair loss: Doctors have injected PRP into the scalp to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss and male pattern baldness.
- Tendon injuries: Tendons are tough, thick bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. They are usually slow to heal after injury. Doctors have used PRP injections to treat chronic tendon problems, such tennis elbow, Achilles tendoinitis at the ankle, and jumper’s knee, or pain in the patellar tendon in the knee.
- Acute injuries: Doctors have used PRP injections to treat acute sports injuries, such as pulled hamstring muscles or knee sprains.
- Postsurgical repair: Sometimes doctors use PRP injections after surgery to repair a torn tendon (such as a rotator cuff tendor in the shoulder) or ligaments (such as the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL).
- Osteoarthritis: Doctors have injected PRP into the knees of people with osteoarthritis as a substitute for hyaluronic acid injections (a traditional therapy)
How long is the procedure?
Approximately 1 hour.
What are the steps to a PRP procedure?
In a typical PRP procedure:
- A healthcare professional will draw a sample of your blood. The amount of the sample depends on what areas are being treated.
- The blood is placed into a centrifuge to “spin the blood” and cause the blood components to separate. The separation process takes approximately 5 minutes.
- A technologist takes the separated plasma and prepares it for injection into the affected area.
- Your medical professional will then inject the PRP into the affected area. In certain cases, imaging devices are used, such as ultrasound, to pinpoint specific areas for injection, such as the tendon.
When will I see results and what is the recovery time?
Because PRP injections are intended to promote healing or growth, you may not notice an immediate difference after receiving the injections. However, in several weeks or months, you may observe that the area is healing faster or growing more hair than you would have expected if you hadn’t received PRP injections.
When PRP is injected, your doctor may recommend that you rest the affected area. However, most people can continue their daily activities following PRP injections.
What are the health risks?
PRP is autologous, which means it contains substances that come directly from your own body. This reduces the risks for an allergic reaction that can occur from injecting other medications, such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are risks from the injection itself, including:
- nerve injuries
- pain at the injection site
- tissue damage
You should discuss these potential risks with your doctor, as well as the steps your doctor will take to minimize these risks.