Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapies
What is PRP?
In simple terms, PRP is a concentration of the platelets found in the blood and as a treatment therapy is believed to have the potential to speed up healing of injuries and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Blood is composed of red and white blood cells, and plasma. Plasma is the component of blood that makes it “fluid,” and consists of water and special proteins called platelets. The platelets are a natural source of growth factors, which play a starring role in wound healing and regenerative processes within the body.
PRP is concentration of the plasma separated from the other components of the blood and dense with platelets that can be used to stimulate and speed up the body’s own healing processes.
How is PRP used as a treatment?
PRP has not been definitively proven and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment. The treatment is also not covered by most insurance plans. However, research suggests that injections of PRP may stimulate and optimize the body’s own ability to heal chronic conditions and injuries.
The treatment is relatively simple 4-step process and is completed in an hour or less:
1. A blood sample is drawn from the patient. The amount of blood needed will depend on the area that is to be treated.
2. This blood sample is placed in a centrifuge and spun at a very high speed to separate the components of the blood. After spinning for 12-15 minutes, the blood will have separated into three distinct layers. Platelet-poor plasma will separate to the top, and the denser red blood cells will separate to the bottom, leaving the platelet-rich plasma in the middle layer.
3. A technologist will take this platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and prepare it for injection.
4. The physician will use a topical agent to numb the skin before injecting the PRP into the affected area.
For what conditions and injuries is PRP therapy used as a treatment?
PRP therapy is being used for various conditions, including hair loss. However at Ortho Illinois PRP injections are offered for a number of bone and joint injuries and chronic conditions:
• Tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, patellar tendonitis
• Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis or ruptures
• Pulled hamstring muscles and knee sprains
• Rotator cuff tears
• Trochanteric bursitis
• Post-surgical repair of tendons and ligaments
Is PRP therapy safe?
Because the injection of concentrated plasma comes from blood taken from the patient’s own body, there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection. Side effects are rare, but can occur any time the skin is pierced and may result in infection, nerve injury, pain at the injection site, or tissue damage.
How will I know if the PRP therapy is working?
PRP does not provide immediate relief and is used to promote the body’s own healing processes to potentially speed up internal repair and recovery. There is limited data on the effectiveness of PRP therapy and clinical studies to date have not clearly demonstrated PRP to be more effective than other treatments.