Learn More About Platelet-Rich Plasma
PRP is a non-surgical technology that has gained credence through research and patient experiences. Many, particularly those with athletic injuries, credit PRP with allowing them to return to their active and competitive lives with no or minimal pain.
PRP therapy offers patients a long-lasting solution that can often even lead to permanent relief through the body's innate healing process. It is not a medical therapy that will wear off over time like a traditional pain injection, but rather persistent healing.
What is PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is human blood that has been spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets at far higher levels than you would normally find. Studies have suggested that growth factors released by platelets recruit healing cells that may accelerate tissue repair and soft tissue healing.
For many years, PRP has been used in surgical settings to help with Achilles tendon and shoulder rotator cuff repair. It has also shown great promise when injected directly into chronically damaged tendons and areas where proper healing has not occurred.
The Science Behind PRP Therapy
Platelets are the part of our blood that forms clots to stop bleeding. They play a critical role in healing injuries. This ability is naturally present wherever our blood flow travels in our bodies. However, our platelets and plasma only constitute about 1% of our blood cells.
While these cells are naturally rich in healing and connective tissue growth factors, they are not always readily present in high densities. The goal of PRP is to concentrate platelets in a solution so they can be directly injected into an or painful area. This allows PRP to naturally create, stimulate and accelerate the body's natural healing processes.
Conditions Helped by PRP
PRP is most useful for tendon sprains and strains and areas with chronic ligament damage that has not responded to more conservative pain treatments. Conditions helped by PRP can include:
- tennis or golfer's elbow
- shoulder pain
- rotator cuff injuries
- disc pain in the lumbar spinal region
- facet pain and dysfunction
- osteoarthritis of the hip, knee or other joints
- hip and hamstring strains
- knee instability
- knee or ankle strains
- carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapment syndromes
- patellar tendonitis
- SI joint dysfunction
How is PRP made?
PRP is made from the patient's blood in our clinic. The whole process, from the initial blood draw to the PRP injection, takes around 30 minutes to complete. A small amount of your blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and plasma. This material is then used in treatment.
How is a PRP injection administered? Does it hurt? What are the side effects?
PRP is injected under x-ray guidance to ensure that the treatment is delivered precisely where it is needed. There may be some pain and soreness at the injection site. This typically does not persist for more than a few days.
Because PRP is made with your blood, the risk of rejection or side effects is minimal.
Can PRP help me avoid surgery?
Every injury and patient are different. Treatment options will be dependent on the patient's general level of health and the extent of the injury being treated.
When can I expect relief?
Most patients begin to experience a reduction in pain and increased function in the injured area within four to six weeks. It may take several injections to see results. Continuing a physical therapy regimen and avoiding aggressive activity is advised after treatment to help the tissue heal.
What are the risks of PRP?
PRP is considered a very safe treatment. However, as with any injection, there is a risk of infection, bleeding or nerve damage. Consult your physician to discuss your specific risks and any rare, but potentially dangerous outcomes.
Request a Consultation
Dr. Mike Harris has dedicated years to pain management practices. Our caring and experienced staff can work with you to diagnose the source of your pain and create a customized program to address and relieve your symptoms. Are you suffering from unexplained or lingering pain and discomfort? Pain is a symptom that should not be "lived with" or ignored. Finding the source of your pain can help you find relief and, in many cases, prevent further damage. Get in touch for a consultation today.
Are you suffering from unexplained or lingering pain and discomfort? Pain is a symptom that should not be "lived with" or ignored. Finding the source of your pain can help you find relief and, in many cases, prevent further damage. Get in touch for a consultation today.