Platelet-Rich Plasma “PRP”
Platelets present in blood contain a number of growth factors that are responsible for healing. Platelet-rich plasma is a concentrate of platelets derived from an individual’s blood stream. Blood is collected from the patient and centrifuged to create the platelet concentrate appropriate for its medical application.
PRP is used to promote the healing of injured tendons, ligaments and muscles. Several studies have demonstrated promising results in the treatment partial rotator cuff tears, rotator cuff tendinopathy, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), hamstring tendinopathy, patellar tendinopathy and Achilles tendinopathy. PRP may also be utilized in the setting of osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and shoulder to reduce pain.
Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments are generally performed in the office setting. Blood is drawn from the arm of the patient, and taken to the centrifuge for preparation. The centrifuge process takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Typically 5-10cc of Platelet-Rich Plasma is extracted during this process. The specific treatment area is then prepared for injection. In the case of tendon injections, the site is prepared with a local anesthetic to decrease pain. The PRP is then delivered to the joint or area of injury through an injection.
Restrictions following PRP therapy are dependent on the area of focus. Typically, patients who receive joint injections for osteoarthritis are allowed to return to normal activity immediately. In the case of tendon and muscle injury, there is usually a period of rest that is required, with a gradual progression back to normal physical activity. In the case of Achilles tendinopathy, a walking boot is usually required for a period of time.
Patients are asked to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) for 2 weeks following PRP therapy as this may negatively affect outcomes. The use of Tylenol or a prescribed pain reliever can be used to control discomfort when needed.
The side effects of PRP injections are limited because the patient’s own blood is being utilized and they should have no reaction to it.