Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
What Are PRP Injections?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection is a non-surgical procedure that helps accelerate the healing process for tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow, and aids in reducing inflammation and pain in joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. PRP injections may be used as an alternative to surgery and cortisone injections.
The injections are comprised of the patient’s own platelets separated from blood by a centrifuge. The platelets are concentrated in blood plasma, which is the liquid in blood that holds cells in suspension. Platelets are thought to release protein growth compounds and anti-inflammatory factors that stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.
Initially used in the dentistry field to help implants and jaw reconstruction procedures heal, PRP injections are now commonly used by orthopedists and sports medicine professionals for their benefit in treating injuries, particularly sports injuries. Many professional athletes and sports teams use PRP injections to treat and heal common injuries.
Platelet rich plasma injections at a glance:
- Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections administer concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood into damaged cartilage and tendons to reduce pain and to aid in the healing process.
- PRP promotes a reparative response and can be used in common tendon injuries including tendon scarring from injury or overuse and tendon tears.
- PRP helps reduce joint inflammation from osteoarthritis and can be used as a safer alternative to cortisone injections.
- PRP injections consist of extracting a blood sample, concentrating the platelets and injecting them into injured areas of the body.
- PRP injections are sometimes performed in a series, but many patients only require one injection to see results.
How Are Platelet Rich Plasma Injections Given?
The patient’s blood sample is placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at such a high speed that the platelets separate out from the red blood cells and plasma. The platelets and the blood plasma are injected into the injured area, often guided by an ultrasound image. The entire procedure takes less than an hour.
Platelet Rich Plasma Injections Effectiveness & Considerations
PRP is a relatively new procedure and research is ongoing to fully measure the procedure’s effectiveness. Many published studies suggest that PRP injections are effective in relieving pain and healing in many common orthopedic conditions. They can also serve as an alternative to surgery.
Common conditions that PRP injections may help include:
- Tennis elbow
- Osteoarthritis of the knee, spine, shoulder, and hip
- Meniscus injuries
- Tendon tears such as hamstring or rotator cuff
- ACL injuries
Because the patient’s own blood is used in the procedure, there is no risk of transfusion reaction. The most common reaction is injection site pain that can last a few days to a few weeks.
Schedule an appointment for PRP injections at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists today. You can find our offices in Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Concord, and San Ramon.