What exactly is PRP?
In more recent years PRP (Platelet rich Plasma) has become popular in the world of professional athletes. Many well-known athletes such as Tiger Wood and Koby Bryant have used PRP to help aid in healing different tendonitis and musculoskeletal injures. PRP is the platelets that are extracted from the plasma (which make up a large component of blood). These platelets are rich in growth factors and it is thought that the growth factors are what aids in speeding up the healing process. There is still a lot of unknowns about how exactly PRP works but there have been major strides in the world of sports medicine, oral surgery and fractures with PRP and its role in healing.
How is PRP prepared?
PRP can be done as an in-office procedure or during surgery in the operating room. It is a simple procedure with minimal discomfort. It would begin with a phlebotomist extracting blood from a vein in one’s arm. The blood is then mixed in a centrifuge; this process allows the platelet rich plasma to be separated from the entire blood content. The PRP is then mixed with a local anesthetic and injected into the area of injury. The whole process in the office takes less than 30 minutes with minimal discomfort. After the procedure, there may be discomfort to the area for a few days. Icing is recommended if there is mild pain.
What conditions can be treated with PRP?
PRP has been shown in studies to be most effective for chronic tendonitis. In addition, it can be beneficial in acute injuries and fractures. In our practice, we have been using PRP in an office setting for acute and chronic injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and chronic pain from ankle sprains. We have had great success and find that within a few days of the procedure many patients are pain free. Sometimes more than one treatment with PRP is required to get the full effects from the PRP.
In conclusion, there are still more studies that are required to determine how exactly PRP works, but to date the results are promising as patients who have been suffering from chronic problems are responding well to PRP injections.