When you are injured, your body automatically signals for help and calls your platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells and other components within your body to travel to the site of injury. Once there, these cells communicate with each other to release specific growth factors that initiate a healing process.
When used at the site of injury, the growth factors and other components in platelet rich plasma (PRP) have been clinically shown to potentially accelerate healing of injured or poorly healed tissue, thereby improving function and decreasing pain in patients of all ages and activity levels without surgery.
PRP therapy typically takes around twenty minutes to complete per treatment. Firstly, 30 milliliters of the patient's blood is collected. The blood sample is placed in a centrifuge in order to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the other components of whole blood. Doctors then inject the concentrated platelets into the site of the injury, usually using ultrasound guidance to assist with accuracy. Platelets function as a natural reservoir for growth factors that are key in repairing injured tissues. The growth factors that the platelets secrete stimulate tissue recovery through increasing collagen production, enhancing tendon stem cell proliferation, and tenocyte-related gene and protein expression. These growth factors also stimulate blood flow and allow cartilage to turn more firm and resilient. PRP activates tenocytes so that they are able to proliferate fast and produce collagen to repair injured tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles.
The number of injections will vary depending on the individual condition of each patient, but generally range anywhere from two to six injections done over time. Patients typically experience significant reduction in pain following the first or second injection. Typically speaking PRP injections are not painful, but the discomfort level will depend on the part of the body that is treated. Injections that go into the joint tend to produce minimal discomfort.
Here at Celebration Orthopaedics, we have seen that PRP injections are the most effective for the following conditions:
Moreover, PRP can also be effective for many cases of osteoarthritis through stimulating healing of cartilage and cutting down on pain and disability. Types of osteoarthritis that can be treated by PRP include: