Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Recently there has been an interest in “orthobiologics”, or using a patient’s own cells in an attempt to stimulate healing and decrease pain: Namely platelet rich plasma (PRP) and mesenchymal stem cell injections.
PRP, or platelet rich plasma, is thought to provide a boost to the body’s own healing ability by taking the patient’s blood and spinning it down in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets, which are then injected back to the afflicted area – whether that be a joint, tendon or ligament. PRP therapy has been performed for many years in Europe, but more recently it has gained increasing attention as professional athletes in the U.S. have been using it to recover quicker from injuries. There is very little risk to the patient, since the injection is essentially an autograft transplant, and many patients seem to experience some benefit. Research on PRP is mixed, but there are some recent studies proving some benefit for chronic tendinopathies, and for early osteoarthritis. PRP therapy is widely performed by many orthopedic practices in this country, and while it is not covered by insurance, the cost is minimal in comparison to surgical intervention.
In order to prepare PRP, blood is taken from the patient. The components within the blood are isolated to produce the PRP through a separating process in a machine called a centrifuge. The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes. It is a same day procedure and patients have little to no down time.
To learn more watch our VIDEO on PRP
Here are some current research articles that discuss PRP:
- Meheux CJ, McColloch PC et al. “Efficacy of Intra-articular Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systemic Review”. Arthroscopy. 2016 Mar:32(3):495-505
- Arirachakran A, Sukthuayat A et al. “Platelet-rich Plasma versus steroid Injection in lateral epicondylitis: systematic review and network meta-analysis”. Journal of Orthopedics and Traumatology. 2015. Sept 11.
- Halpern B, Chaudhury S et al. “Clinical and MRI Outcomes After Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis” Clin J Sport Med. 2013;23(3):238-239.