Platelet Rich Plasma
Our blood consists of a liquid component known as plasma. It also consists of three main solid components which include the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets play an important role in forming blood clots. They also consist of special proteins, known as growth factors, which help with our body’s healing process. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a high concentration of platelets and plasma. A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets, while platelet-rich plasma contains 94% of platelets and 5 to 10 times the concentration of growth factors found in normal blood, thus greater healing properties.
What conditions can be treated with PRP?
PRP is a relatively new method of treatment for several orthopaedic conditions such as muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries; arthritis; and fractures. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote healing and delay joint replacement surgeries.
- Patellar tendonitis/tendinosis
- Quadriceps muscle injuries
- Ligament sprains or tears
- Hip girdle muscle pain or injury
- Pyriformis syndrome
- Greater trochanteric Bursitis
- Ischial bursitis
- Pubic symphysis pain
- Sacroiliac joint pain
- Hamstring tendonitis or tears
Shoulder and Arm Pain
- Rotator Cuff tendonitis, tendonopathy or partial tears
- Acromio-clavicular joint pain or arthritis
- Bicipital tendonitis
- Medial and Lateral epicondylitis (golfers & tennis elbow)
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament sprain or tear
- Spinal nerve inflammation
- Facet Joint arthritis
- Disc herniation or tear
- Interspinous ligament sprain
Lower Leg and Foot
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Peroneal tendonitis
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendonitis or partial tears
Following a formal evaluation and diagnostic workup, an individualized treatment plan will be discussed with you. A full explanation of the procedure including risks and benefits will be reviewed. Once written consent is obtained, blood is drawn from your arm and placed in a special processing unit, which separates platelets, white blood cells and serum from red blood cells. The platelets and white blood cells are then concentrated and collected into a sterile syringe. Some of the blood is used to create an “activator” of the PRP. The skin and soft tissue is anesthetized with local anesthetic, followed by injection of both the PRP and activator into the tissue targeted for treatment. Depending on the size of the injured tissue, one or several needles are inserted to optimize placement of the PRP.
Depending on the severity and duration of your injury, one to three PRP injections are suggested. Following the initial treatment with PRP, a follow up visit occurs 2-3 weeks later. At this visit an evaluation of your response to the initial therapy is performed and a decision is made regarding the need for additional PRP treatments. In general, chronic injuries require more than one injection. In both acute and chronic injuries, injections may be combined with an exercise or physical therapy program to enhance the success of the treatment.
Are PRP injections safe?
Research and clinical data show that PRP injections are extremely safe, with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication. Because PRP is produced from your own blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. There is a small risk of infection from any injection into the body, but this is rare. Of note, recent research suggests that PRP may have an anti-bacterial property which protects against possible infection (4).
Recent studies suggest that PRP is bacteriocidal to Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas: “Platelet rich plasma appears to be effective in preventing growth of Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus Aureus. Bactericidal effects are also noted “.