What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP is blood plasma with concentrated platelets. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing: bone, tendon, and ligament regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels, and stimulate the wound healing process.
What are the potential benefits?
Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms with reduction in pain. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments, such as long term medication or surgery, as well as, a remarkable return of function.
What are tendons and ligaments?
Tendons, composed of collagen fibers, connect muscle to bone making it possible for you to perform everyday activities. Overuse or damage to tendons over a long period of time causes the collagen fibers in tendons to form small tears, a condition called tendinosis. Damage most often occurs in the spine, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, biceps, calf, hamstrings, and achilles.
Ligaments are also composed of collagen fibers, connecting bone to bone i.e. joints: ankles, knees, shoulders, spine, etc., stabilizing the joint and controlling the range of motion. A damaged ligament is no longer able to provide support, weakening the joints and shifting the burden of support to muscles (and then to the tendons) which should primarily act as movement engines. Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply particularly where they connect to bone (entheses). Once injured (sprains or strains), they do not heal easily and the damage progresses with the stress of day-to-day activities. As a result, the muscles are over-taxed causing chronic pain and weakness and further damage. This is where PRP is the most beneficial. PRP can increase blood supply to the ligaments and tendons and help them to strengthen and thicken.
How does PRP work?
To prepare PRP, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins and automatically produces the PRP. The entire process takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500%.
When PRP is injected into the damaged area, it stimulates the tendon or ligament, causing mild inflammation that triggers the healing process. As a result, new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures, it begins to shrink causing the tightening and strengthening of the tendons or ligaments of the damaged area.
Areas that can be treated.
Spine- neck and lumbar
How many treatments are necessary and how often is this therapy administered?
While responses to treatment vary, most people will require 1-3 injections. Each treatment is spaced 6 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have, the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.
Is PRP right for me?
If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and alleviates further degeneration of the tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therapy is right for you.
Are there any special instructions?
You are restricted from the use of anti-inflammatories during the course of treatment.
Initially, the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort which may be quite intense. Most patients only require some extra strength Tylenol but will be given stronger pain medicines if needed.
Physical therapy can be considered during the treatments to help strengthen any atrophied muscles.
How soon can I go back to regular physical activities?
PRP therapy helps regenerate tendons and ligaments but it is not a quick fix. This therapy is stimulating the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments, and requires time and rehabilitation. Through regular visits, your doctor will determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities.
Does insurance pay for PRP?
Some insurances pay for PRP. Please inquire with the staff.