Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is created using a person’s own blood and is made up of a concentration of platelets. Platelets are a vital factor in blood clotting. There are a number of factors essential to cell recruitment, specialization and multiplication need for healing contained in liquid plasma and platelets.
The components of the blood are separated by a centrifuge, which spins the blood for about 15 minutes. Before delivering PRP to injured soft tissue like a ligament or tendon, or a bone it has to be treated. An injection is used to give PRP and the placement of the injection site is guided by an ultrasound.
Effectiveness of PRP Treatment
It has been suggested that healing of soft tissue and bone can be improved by studies of animal models. There are advantages of using your own platelets such as there being thousands of growth factors including PGDF, CTGF, EGF, IGF, TGF-B, BFGF and VEGF.
The natural healing process is regulated and controlled by these compounds. An accelerated healing process is achieved by the concentrated growth factors being injected into the injured area. Animal models have used it for conditions such as chronic and acute problems in the tendons. Muscle and ligament injuries have also benefited from the therapy. The studies for human benefits have been limited. A study out of south Florida showed that PRP for tennis elbow worked very well for patients whose only other options would have been surgery. Over 90% of patients were able to avoid the need for an operation.
The best results are seen when the treatment with PRP is used for Achilles tendinitis (affects Achilles tendon) and tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). PRP has been shown to be more effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee than hyaluronic acid. Positive results were seen using PRP to treat MCL (medical collateral ligament) injuries and tears in the knee. A study out of the Hospital for Special Surgery last year showed that over 3/4 of patients achieved excellent pain relief with PRP injections for knee arthritis.
PRP Treatment Concerns
When PRP treatment begins anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped because the goal is to optimize the first inflammatory healing response.
What you should remember about PRP
- The patient’s own blood is used for platelet rich plasma (PRP)
- A significant role in healing biology is played by the concentration of cellular signaling and growth factors.
- Treatment with PRP has been shown to improve healing in a number of tissues in basic science studies
- There are a few clinical studies to show PRP treatments effectiveness in humans.
- Before and after PRP treatment you should not take anti-inflammatory medications.
The recovery from surgical orthopedic procedures has used patient derived PRP for over three decades. The use of the patients own blood eliminates that risk of transmissible infection and the risk of allergic reaction is low.