Orthopedic Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Therapy
Pain relief and healing without surgery
Faster recovery time
Easy, virtually non-invasive procedure
No risk of donor-derived tissue rejection
Procedure takes only around 1 hour
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy is rapidly becoming one of the most promising and popular ways to recover from sports injuries and to treat chronic orthopedic problems. A form of regenerative medicine, PRP therapy works by isolating healing components in your blood, concentrating them, and reapplying them to damaged tissue, ligament, muscle, or discs.
Read on to learn why everyone from the world’s top athletes to chronic pain sufferers are opting for this revolutionary pain management method.
What Is PRP?
You may recognize platelets as the body’s raw material source for clotting, or stopping bleeding. But platelets also contain growth factors, hundreds of proteins that are vital in the healing process. Plasma is the fluid component of blood that carries platelets, as well as white and red blood cells, throughout the body.
So platelet-rich plasma (or “PRP”) is essentially blood that contains a highly concentrated number of these growth factors (inside of platelets), up to 10 times the typical amount. It is a 100% naturally derived medicine that can be re-injected into a damaged area of the same body it originated from to promote faster healing and shorter recovery time.
How PRP Works
So how does normal plasma transform into supercharged PRP? By a simple, three-step process that is quick, outpatient, and minimally invasive.
First, the doctor draws a blood sample from your arm, just like in a routine blood test. There’s no need to fast or have someone accompany you, but for two weeks prior to the therapy session and two weeks after you need to discontinue using aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications, which can impact platelets.
The blood we’ve drawn is next spun in a centrifuge to separate the growth factor-containing platelets from the other components in the plasma. The PRP is then removed.
With the PRP material prepared, it is now injected into the damaged tissue, disc, joint, or tendon. In certain cases, it may be necessary to use x-ray or ultrasound guidance to ensure accuracy of the injection.
All of this typically takes an hour or less, and though rest is recommended you may resume your normal activities after 24 hours. As with any shot, swelling or bruising around the point of injection is normal and will dissipate within a few days.
While some patients notice positive effects right away, over the next two to six weeks, the platelets and growth factors go to work reducing the biological imbalance in areas of inflammation and preparing them for repair. Some patients may require follow-up therapy sessions depending on the severity of their condition.
Conditions PRP Is Used to Treat
PRP therapy is used as a treatment for common sports injuries and as an alternative to surgery. It can also be used to help patients recover from surgery or to treat chronic diseases and conditions. PRP has been used to successfully treat the following issues:
Tendon and ligament injuries - ACL tears, runner’s knees, tennis elbows, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knees
Wrist pain - carpal tunnel syndrome
Foot and ankle pain - plantar fasciitis
Hip pain - osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, arthroscopic hip surgery, labral tears
Knee pain - osteoarthritis, tendonitis, ACL reconstruction
Shoulder pain - osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tendinitis and tears, biceps tendonitis
Spine and back - osteoarthritis, lumbar disc disease, low back pain
Are PRP Injections Safe?
Because of the nature of the process, PRP therapy is considered perfectly safe and has the same potential side effects as any injection. Complications such as infection or bleeding from a PRP injection are extremely rare, and since the PRP itself is autologous, the chances of allergic reaction or disease transmission are effectively nonexistent.
Under FDA regulations, PRP therapies are exempt from clinical trials and the drug approval process. PRP preparations can be used for any application deemed appropriate by the physician. PRP therapy is considered an acceptable part of the practice of medicine as long as the practitioner stays well-informed on the product and adheres to all state and federal regulations. This is why it’s important to only receive PRP injections from a trusted medical practice like the Philadelphia PRP and Stem Cell Institute.
Who Makes a Good Candidate for PRP Treatment?
PRP therapy can be the best option for many patients, but some may not be well-suited for it. According to organizations like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the International Cellular Medicine Society, PRP may be appropriate if any of the following are true for you:
Osteoarthritis pain hinders your daily activities but is not severe
Other treatment methods have failed, including physical therapy, steroid injections, and joint aspirations
You are sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and need to seek alternatives
You have a soft tissue injury such as tendonitis, muscle tear, or ligament sprain
You are free of any pre-existing conditions or lifestyle habits that may have lowered your healthy platelet count, such as thrombocytopenia or smoking
To find out if PRP therapy is a good fit for you, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.