Defining Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelets make up a small percent of your blood. They are responsible for clotting and also contain growth factors that help to heal cells and tissues. A platelet rich plasma injection consists of a concentration of platelets—about 5 to 10 times greater than the concentration in your blood. By creating an injection with a high concentration of these platelets, you get the benefit of potential fast tissue healing. For many patients, the injection also helps to make other treatments—like physical therapy—more manageable.
Preparing the Injection
Platelet rich plasma injections are prepared with the patient’s own blood. Blood is collected and then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets into a rich mixture. The injection is often delivered alongside a local anesthetic in order to minimize any potential discomfort. The platelets are then injected directly into the area that is injured.
Most commonly, platelet rich plasma injections are utilized for patients with tendon injuries, including Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendon inflammation, and tennis elbow. Other possibilities include:
- Thigh sprains
- Knee sprains
- Acute muscle injuries
- Acute ligament injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Arthritis of the hip, knee, back, and shoulder
- Sports injuries
- Overuse injuries
Platelet rich plasma injections also have limited use for fractures. Additionally, PRP can be used to treat a surgery site before and after the procedure. This method is often used in conjunction with procedures that involve joints affected by tendon tears. The platelet rich plasma is delivered in a way that it is essentially “stitched” into the damaged tissues.
What Can I Expect?
It is not uncommon to experience an increase in pain during the first few weeks following an injection. This is because the tissues need time to heal from the injection itself. After this point, the benefits of the platelets become more noticeable. If you received the injection during surgery, you might see results even sooner.
If you suffer from chronic or acute pain due to an injury, talk to your doctor about platelet rich plasma therapy today. This procedure has been used since the late 1980s and continues to provide lasting results for patients with minimal side effects or risks.