Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
When tendons and ligaments are damaged as a result of injury or overuse, small tears may develop as part of a condition known as tendonosis. Although these tissues are strong and help us engage in all kinds of physical activity when they are healthy, they do not heal well when damaged by a sprain or by overuse, since they have a poor blood supply.
Certain elements within the blood, specifically the platelets and white blood cells, help tendons and ligaments heal by stimulating a repair and growth response that accelerates the process of developing of new tissue. Unfortunately, the tendons and ligaments do not receive a rich supply of these valuable nutrients, which is why they often take a long time to heal and can cause patients severe pain within the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, bicep, calf and other areas.
What is platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP therapy)?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is plasma with a high concentration of platelets, which contains a large amount of proteins. These proteins can initiate and accelerate new tissue growth within the tendons and ligaments to repair damage and relieve symptoms for patients with tendonosis or other causes of chronic pain.
Injecting platelet-rich plasma into damaged tissue is an effective yet minimally invasive treatment option used to relieve pain and other symptoms caused by this damage. By enhancing the body’s natural healing abilities, patients are able to enjoy a faster and more thorough healing process that relieves symptoms and allows them to return to their regular activities.
What is platelet-rich plasma used for?
Platelet-rich plasma injections can be used to treat a wide range of orthopedic conditions, including:
- Joint pain
- Ligament sprains or tears
- Nerve inflammation
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
This treatment can also be used to speed the healing process and reduce the risk of infection after cosmetic procedures or other types of surgery.
How does this procedure work?
During the PRP injection procedure, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient and placed in a processing unit to separate the platelets, white blood cells and serum from the red blood cells. The platelets and white blood cells are then placed in a centrifuge and concentrated and loaded into a sterile syringe. Some of the patient’s blood is used as an activator and injected with the PRP into the targeted tissue to stimulate the healing process.
This procedure is performed under local anesthetic, which numbs the injection site to minimize pain for patients. Most patients tolerate the injection well and experience little to no discomfort from the injection.
Most patients require one to three PRP injections in order to achieve the desired results from this procedure. Your doctor will evaluate your condition a few weeks after the initial treatment to determine whether or not additional injections are needed. This treatment can be combined with exercise or physical therapy in patients with acute injuries.
What can patients expect after the PRP procedure?
After platelet-rich plasma injections, patients may experience soreness and aching for several days, which is a sign that the healing process has begun. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may be taken if needed to help alleviate these symptoms. Patients can return to work and other normal activities immediately after treatment, but should refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous activity for a few days.
What are the benefits of PRP therapy?
For many patients, platelet-rich plasma injections offer significant relief from pain and other symptoms, and eliminate the need for surgery or long-term medications. This treatment also promotes the healing process and allows patients to return to their normal activities faster than with other nonsurgical treatments.
Speak to your doctor about if PRP therapy is right for you
Since the PRP is produced from the patient’s own blood, there is very little risk for complications with this procedure. There is always a risk of infection with any type of injection, but most patients undergo his procedure with no problems.
Your doctor can help you figure out if this procedure is right for you. If you are interested in learning more about platelet-rich plasma injections, please contact us today or call us at (516) 364-0070 to schedule an appointment.