Platelet Rich Plasma Injections Treatment

Dr Shreedhar Archik

Platelet rich plasma injections at a glance  

• Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections administer concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood into damaged cartilage and tendons to reduce pain and to aid in the healing process.
• PRP rebuilds these tissues and can be used in common tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow, and to repair cartilage due to osteoarthritis or other damage.
• PRP injections consist of extracting a blood sample, concentrating the platelets and injecting them into injured areas of the body.
• PRP injections are sometimes performed in a series, but many patients only require one injection to see results.

What are platelet rich plasma injections?

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection is a non-surgical procedure that helps patients suffering from tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow, or osteoarthritis by attempting to accelerate the healing process in the soft tissue. PRP injections, which also reduce pain from these injuries, provide another treatment option, especially as an alternative to surgery and cortisone shots.

The injections are comprised of the patient’s own platelets separated from the blood by a centrifuge. The platelets are concentrated in blood plasma, the liquid in blood that holds cells in suspension.  The platelets are thought to release protein growth compounds and stimulate healing.

Initially used in the dentistry field to help implants and jaw reconstruction procedures heal, PRP injections are now commonly used by orthopedists and sports medicine professionals for their benefit in treating injuries, particularly sports injuries. Many professional athletes and sports teams use PRP injections to treat and heal common injuries.

Common conditions that PRP injections may help include :

• Tennis elbow.
• Osteoarthritis of the knee, spin, shoulder and hip.
• ACL injuries.
• Achilles tendinitis.
• Ankle sprains.

How are platelet rich plasma injections given?

The patient’s blood sample is placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at such a high speed that the platelets separate out from the red blood cells and plasma. The platelets and the blood plasma are injected into the injured area, often guided by ultrasound image. The entire procedure takes one hour.

PRP injection frequency will vary depending on the patient and injury.  Some patients receive a series of injections over the course of several weeks, while other patients can experience relief after one session.

Platelet rich plasma injections effectiveness and considerations

PRP is a relatively new procedure and more research is ongoing to fully measure the procedure’s effectiveness.   Many published studies suggest that PRP injections are effective in relieving pain, helping healing and providing an alternative to surgery.

Because the patient’s own blood is used in the procedure, there is no risk of transfusion reaction. The most common reaction is injection site pain that can last from minutes to a few days.  We currently recommend that patients stop anti-inflammatory medications before receiving PRP and until two weeks after.

Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is generically defined as an increase (above baseline) in the concentration of a platelets and their associated growth factors.  While the clinical benefits of PRP in enhancing the healing  of musculoskeletal tissues are still bring explored, the substantial amount of basic science data supporting the role of growth factors in enhancing cell migration, cell proliferation, and matrix synthesis has provided a compelling rationale for use of PRP in the treatment and repair of various connective tissue structures.

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH PRP ?

Knee Pain  

• Patellar tendonitis/tendinosis.
• Quadriceps muscle injuries.
• Ligament sprains or tears.
• Bursitis.

Hip Pain

• Hip girdle muscle pain or injury.
• Pyriformis syndrome.
• Greater trochanteric Bursitis.
• lschial bursitis.
• Pubic symphysis pain.
• Sacroiliac joint pain.
• Hamstring tendonitis or tears.

Shoulder and Arm Pain

• Rotator Cuff tendonitis, tendonopathy or partial tears.
• Acromio-clavicular joint pain or arthritis.
•  Bicipital tendonitis.
• Medial and Lateral epicondylitis (golfers & tennis elbow).
• Ulnar Collateral Ligament sprain or tear.

Back Pain

• Spinal nerve inflammation.
• Facet Joint arthritis.
• Disc herniation or tear.
• Interspinous ligament sprain.

Lower Leg and Foot

• Plantar Fasciitis
• Shin Splints.
• Peroneal tendonitis.
• Ankle sprains.
• Achilles tendonitis or partial tears

TREATMENT PROCESS

Blood is drawn from your arm and placed in a special processing unit, which separates platelets, white blood cells and serum from red blood cells.  The platelets and white blood cells are then concentrated and collected into a sterile syringe.  Some of the blood is used to create an “activator” of the PRP. The skin and soft tissue is anesthetized with local anesthetic, followed by injection of both the PRP and activator into the tissue targeted for treatment. Depending on the size of the injured tissue, one or several needles are inserted to optimize placement of the PRP.

Research and clinical data show that PRP injections are extremely safe, with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication.  Because PRP is produced from your own blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission.  There is a small risk of infection from any injection into the body, but this is rare.

IS PLATELET-RICH PLASMA AN EFFECTIVE HEALING THERAPY ?

Athletes such as Tiger Woods and the Pittsburgh Steelers’s Hines Ward have undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy, but is there evidence that the treatment really speeds the healing of injuries?
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Disclaimer: The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. The information is provided solely for educational purpose and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.