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).
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.
What about PAIN relief for ARTHRITIS?
A new study examined many smaller articles relating to pain relief with PRP. Here is the study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260061/
What did it find ?
– Intra-articular PRP injections probably are more efficacious in the treatment of knee OA in terms of pain relief and self-reported function improvement at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up, compared with other injections, including saline placebo, HA, ozone, and corticosteroids.
What about PAIN relief for TENDONITIS, TENDON TEARS, MENISCUS INJURY , and STRESS FRACTURES?
Studies have shown longer term pain relief with PRP injections for many types of damage.
While steroid injections do give “short” term pain relief, they do not heal anything. In fact they actually might degrade tissue over time.
PRP is safe, and does not have the same side effects, and while it is still considered experimental, MOST patients seem to do very well with PRP.
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.