PRP is a regenerative therapy using your own blood as the source. Your body has tremendous potential to heal itself, and the components that begin a healing response are circulating in your blood. They are called growth factors and are concentrated within platelets.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an innovative therapy in the field of regenerative biologics, a field dedicated to discovering and perfecting treatment options to harness your body’s own power to heal itself. PRP utilizes your body’s ability to heal itself naturally through harvesting platelets and injecting them into the damaged site. Platelets are small disk-shaped cells within your blood that contain natural growth factors, proteins, and cytokines to stimulate the healing of bone and soft tissues. Platelets serve several valuable functions such as decreasing inflammation, stimulating cell growth, and attracting stem cells to the damaged tissue. When the platelets are injected into the joint, they lyse (break) and release growth factors, cytokines, and other healing proteins into the affected joint, stimulating your body’s natural healing process. The growth factors identify the surrounding cells, recruit additional growth factors to the site, and stimulate the production of new cells to replace the injured ones. Typical concentrations of platelets in PRP are 5-10 times that found in blood. Therefore, PRP is a consolidator of the above resources that collectively stimulate repair and regeneration.
Learn more about Regenerative Biologics
What is the procedure like for PRP?
Like all our procedures, PRP therapy is done on-site at our clinic in a sterile environment to eliminate the risk of infection. When you come in for the treatment, one of our medical assistants will draw a small sample of your blood (11 mL per joint) and place the vial in a centrifuge for 10-15 minutes. The centrifugation process separates your blood into layers of its base components: plasma, red blood cells, and proteins. The thin protein layer at the bottom portion of the plasma contains the platelets. The top portion of the plasma is drawn off using a syringe to remove the platelet-poor plasma (PPP), leaving the PRP and protein layer. The PRP and protein layer are then combined and drawn up with another syringe and injected sterilely into the injured joint. PRP stimulates an inflammatory response for the first 1-3 days in order to draw addition stem cells and growth factors to the site of injury, but apart from feeling sore for a few days after, there is little to no recovery time for the procedure and the whole process takes about a half hour. Because PRP is part of your own blood, there is no chance of having an allergic or immune reaction. The main risks include local infection (less than 1% chance), and pain at the injection site. These are the same risks associated with any blood draw, injection, or other invasive procedures.
PRP for Osteoarthritis
Many patients have found PRP an effective method for treating osteoarthritis, as it can help to not only treat osteoarthritis, but it can help prevent it from progressing and in some studies can even help stimulate new cartilage growth. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our providers for any questions you have about how PRP can be used to treat Osteoarthritis.
PRP for sports and overuse injuries
PRP can be used to treat a variety of injuries. Professional athletes like Tiger Woods and Hines Ward have used PRP to accelerate and augment their natural healing processes. These athletes received PRP therapy after experiencing injuries that should have sidelined them for months. Instead, they’ve experienced faster recovery times thanks to PRP treatments. Laboratory and clinical research have shown that it is possible to use PRP to heal and even regenerate lost, damaged, or aging tissue, providing some patients with an alternative to surgery. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible. When surgery is required, PRP can aid in the healing process as a whole. PRP alone may not be sufficient enough treatment for more severe injuries.
Learn more about how PRP can help treat sports injuries