Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma, a new approach for healing muscle and ligament injuries.
What is Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
Autologous platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is a promising solution to accelerate healing of tendon injuries and osteoarthritis naturally without subjecting patients to significant risk. The philosophy is to merge cutting edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal. PRP technology was intially developed 20 years ago to aide with wound healing and blood loss. Its benefits are now applied towards the facilitation of healing tendons and cartilage. In fact, PRP has been widely used for years in Europe to treat various tendon injuries.
How does PRP procedure work?
Using the patient’s own blood, specially prepared platelet are taken and then re-injected into the affected area. These platelets release substances known as “growth factors” that lead to tissue healing. For example, when you cut yourself, the body’s natural response is to attract platelets that release growth factors and facilitate healing. By concentrating the platelets we increase the release of growth factors which promotes the healing of tendons and cartilage.
The human body has remarkable ability to heal itself and by re-injecting concentrated platelets we are facilitating the natural healing process.
Is Platelet Rich Plasma Right For Me?
For most patient PRP offers a solid, alternative treatment for those who do not wish to have surgery. An initial evaluation will determine if PRP is a viable treatment option.
What are the benefit of PRP treatment?
Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms; elimination of need for more traditional treatments such as medications, cortisone inceptions or surgery; and a dramatic return for function.
How soon can I go back to regular physical activity?
This treatment is not “quick fix” and is designed to promote long-term healing. The process of PRP requires time and rehabilitation. Patients who follow a course of physical therapy are likely to see the most improvement in the affected area. PRP accelerates and shortens the recovery process in chronic injuries and new acute injuries.
Prior studies on tennis elbow have demonstrated an 81% improvement in pain scores at six months and 93% reduction in pain follow up at 1-3 years.
Through regular follow-up visits your doctor can determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities.
How do I prepare for an injection?
Patients should schedule an evaluation to determine if PRP is a viable treatment option. An MRI and/or musculoskeletal ultrasound may be done prior to the injection to insure a proper diagnosis and rule out any condition best treated surgically.
The PRP injection usually takes an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis. Do not take anti-inflammatories one week before or after the injection as this may limit the treatment benefits.
Depending on a patient’s condition, a series of 1-3 injections may be required.
How do I care of the injection site after the treatment?
Initially the procedure may cause some localised soreness and discomfort. Patients may apply ice and elevation as needed. After one week the patient will likely begin rehabilitation program with physical therapy.
What are the significant side effects?
The risks are usually uncommon.