- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is concentrated from your own blood. The platelets contain healing factors that help accelerate your body's healing capability. PRP contains growth factors that help activate the body's repairing cells and can draw in other healing cells such as stem cells and other cells to help increase the healing response in damaged tissue. White blood cells (WBCs) and bioactive proteins called growth factors and stem cell markers are important for tissue repair and regeneration.
- Some forms of PRP with little to no WBCs may be more effective in joints while PRP with WBCs seems to work better in soft tissue like tendons.
- PRP has many benefits in that it is minimally invasive, affords minimal downtime, is natural and autologous (from your own body), and less side effects compared to steroid injections or surgery.
- It is important to understand that not all PRP is created equal. There are some that advertise PRP but really are providing a lower concentration of platelets called autologous conditioned plasma. Advanced PRP systems allow for better processing control and flexibility. Advanced processing techniques allow us to concentrate platelets, WBCs, and other growth factors more precisely and treat the underlying problem more effectively.
- When prepared correctly, a PRP injection can deliver 1 billion platelets per mililiter. Therefore a 5 mL (milliliter) injection of PRP can deliver at least 5 billion platelets to the targeted site.
- PRP is commonly used for chronic tendon injuries like tennis elbow. It can also be used for acute ligament or muscle injuries like a medial collateral ligament injury of the knee. PRP has also been found effective at treating osteoarthritis (OA).
- While the repair and healing process of PRP takes several weeks, and a PRP injection can result in a few days of post procedure pain at the treatment site, a growing body of scientific literature show benefit for treatment of certain tendon, ligament, and joint conditions. These studies also show PRP to have a very good safety profile.
At Sports Health Northwest, we are happy to answer questions you might have about PRP and discuss its potential use for your musculoskeletal injury. PRP can be safely utilized for many conditions affecting the knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, feet, ankles, hands, and wrists.