Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy also referred to as PRP Therapy, is a progressive non-surgical treatment to treat a variety of conditions including arthritis, tendon injuries, and ligament injuries.
PRP is part of a group of state-of-the-art treatments collectively referred to as Regenerative Medicine. PRP treats an injured area naturally using your body’s own growth factors to accelerate healing. It has been shown to be safe and effective for numerous joint and soft tissue injuries. It has been extensively researched in numerous medical journals and publications all over the world.
Some of the many uses of Platelet Rich Plasma include osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the spine, knee, shoulder, hip, hands, and feet, as well as meniscus tears, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff tears.
The procedure is simple and is performed in the office. The PRP process begins when a small amount of the patient’s blood is removed from the arm and placed into a special container. The blood is then placed into a device called a centrifuge which spins the blood to help the separate the portion of the blood which becomes concentrated with platelets, thereby giving the procedure its name. These platelets are important because they release growth factors to recruit stem cells and to assist in healing an injured area naturally. Once the PRP is isolated, it is injected to the injured area under the guidance of an ultrasound machine to help accelerate healing and reduce pain.
This healing works on the simple principle that your body is perfectly capable of healing itself. Your blood contains all the essential components that the body produces to repair tissue damage. Each time you have an injury, the platelets in your blood along with growth factors, stem cells, cytokines, and other elements create a scaffolding on the site. The damaged tissues use this framework to regenerate and repair. The entire process takes approximately one hour, and patients are sent home the same day. Patients on average report more than 50% improvement in 6 weeks and up to 100% improvement in 12 weeks. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive and expensive treatment options such as long-term medication or surgery. In a recent study, researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery gave patients with early osteoarthritis an injection of PRP and then monitored them for one year. After one year of the PRP injection, physicians evaluated the knee cartilage with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). While previous studies have shown that patients with osteoarthritis can lose roughly five percent of knee cartilage per year, the Hospital for Special Surgery investigators found that a large majority of patients in their study had no further cartilage loss. At minimum PRP also prevented further knee deterioration.