Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment an Option for You?
Whether you’re an athlete sidelined by chronic pain from a muscle or tendon injury, or an active individual suffering from painful osteoarthritis, there may be a safe alternative to surgery to help relieve your pain. An injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), may help to jumpstart the healing process, and athletes like Tiger Woods, Steph Curry, and Rafael Nadal have all credited these treatments for accelerating their return to competition.
Plasma is the liquid portion of our blood, and platelets are one of the cellular components. Although you probably know them for their importance in causing blood to clot, platelets also contain abundant growth factors which help us heal after injuries. By concentrating the platelets from our own blood, we can also concentrate the growth factors, and inject them into injured tissues to stimulate the biologic healing response. This type of treatment holds great promise, and many studies now show that these injections have better results than other nonsurgical options, and can often help patients avoid surgery.
PRP injections can be done in an exam room, and take less than an hour. Your own blood is first drawn, then placed in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. With the guidance of an ultrasound machine, the platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the arthritic joint, or the damaged portion of the tendon. Patients return home after the procedure, and are encouraged to rest the area for one to two weeks. This is followed by a program of physical therapy involving gradual progression of activities, targeting a full return to normal activity by three months.
Orthopedic + Fracture (O+F) Specialists will soon offer this treatment option for several conditions. Your physician at O+F can evaluate you and determine if treatment with PRP injections is right for you!