Learn the basics of platelet-rich plasma treatments and how they could help you!
PRP treatment has been in the news lately as a groundbreaking non-surgical option for pain relief and long lasting healing of musculoskeletal conditions. Its popularity began to rise in the treatment of professional and recreational athletes, many of whom have credited PRP with their return to both routine activities and competition with minimal to no pain at all.
This rapidly emerging technique shows amazing potential for effectively treating many conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, sprains and tears.
What is PRP?
Human blood is made up of 93% red blood cells, 6% white blood cells, 1% platelets and plasma. PRP stands for platelet rich plasma, so named because it consists of a plasma base enriched with many more platelets than are typically found in whole blood—often 5 to 10 times more than usual. Creation of PRP is a simple, painless process that only takes approximately 25-30 minutes and can typically be done during an office visit.
The goal of PRP treatment is to concentrate the patient’s own platelets into a solution that is then applied to the injured or pained area(s). The use of platelet-rich plasma is one of the most natural ways for the body to effectively heal itself.
Why are Platelets Important?
Platelets are the clotting cells of our blood, but they are also naturally rich in proteins known as growth factors. These growth factors have great potential to enhance the healing processes of muscle, tendons, and ligaments. In fact, when soft tissue is injured, the body’s immediate response is to rush platelets to the area.
Injecting these growth factors into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints via PRP treatmentstimulates the natural repair process. As a result, PRP creates, stimulates, and accelerates the body’s own natural healing ability.
What Does PRP Treat?
PRP can treat anything from hair loss to arthritis, becoming a permanent solution with minimal downtime and maximum results. At present, PRP treatment is most popular for chronic ligament and tendon conditions which traditional conservative treatments have failed to improve. More specifically, these may include:
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendonitis & plantar fasciitis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Hamstring and hip strains
- Knee, hip, and other joint osteoarthritis
- Knee sprains and instability
- Lumbar and cervical disc pain
- Patellar tendonitis
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder pain and instability
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction and pain
Prp injection therapy can improve pain and improve function for many cases of knee, hip, and shoulder osteoarthritis through the stimulation of healing and regrowth of cartilage.
For most patients, intensity of pain decreases within a few days after treatment as the body’s mobility, endurance, and strength increase.
Gradual improvement is usually noted between 2-6 weeks after PRP therapy, with some patients reporting continued improvement as much as 6-9 months later. In some studies, Ultrasound and MRI images have shown the emergence of definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy.
By treating these injured tissues before damage progresses too far, it is possible that surgical intervention may be avoided.
What Are the Risks of PRP Treatment?
In general, PRP is an especially safe treatment option with no risk of allergic reaction because it is created from the patient’s own natural materials.
A small risk of infection, bleeding, or nerve damage does exist, but these complications are very rare. Other risks depend on the nature of injury and the parts of the body being treated.
PRP treatment offers patients a long lasting, permanent healing solution through the body’s own platelets and natural growth processes, and does not wear off over time as traditional pain injections do. If you have more questions about prp or are experiencing pain, contact Stuart Kauffman at 215-342-3600 today.