Platelet-Rich Plasma stimulates bone, muscle and soft tissue healing. It is another treatment option in the event of a failed cortisone injection, or other therapies. Sports injuries, arthritic joints (knee, shoulder, hips, ankle, foot), tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, low back pain, plantar fasciitis and all may be effectively treated with PRP. It is a natural approach to healing ligament, tendon and joint injuries. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It allows your body to heal itself using its own natural resource, your blood. PRP will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and prevent further degeneration of the tissues. Essentially, the doctor put the good part of your blood (PRP) to help it heal. Without PRP the tissue continues to degrade or progress to complete tear, or in case of joint arthritis, progression to bone on bone stage. Recovery time from PRP is minimal, with quicker return to work and exercise.
To prepare Platelet-Rich Plasma, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge which spins and automatically creates the PRP. The entire process takes 40 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors to decrease inflammation and stimulate cell repair. When PRP is injected into the damaged area, it stimulates the tendon, ligament, joint, and cartilage, causing mild inflammation that triggers the healing cascade. As a result, new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures it begins to shrink and causes the tightening and strengthening of the tendons or ligaments of the damaged area.
Research and clinical data show that PRP injections are safe with minimal risk of adverse reaction or complication. Studies have shown that cortisone injections may actually weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, but may not provide long term healing. Thus, pain may reoccur within months. PRP is delivered to the tissue in its inactivated form. The collagen in connective tissue activates the platelets, which then release their cytokines and growth factors (the good stuff). The regenerative cells then become cartilage, ligament, tendon or muscle cells as needed at the injury site. At the same time, local inflammation is downgraded. Without this help, in a typical knee with osteoarthritis, it takes approximately five years from symptom onset to knee replacement, necessary when the cartilage is gone and the knee joint is bone on bone. The desired end result of PRP therapy is functional repair of an injured tendon, muscle or joint cartilage allowing it to bear greater mechanical stress during activity without pain. Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments such as long term medication or surgery, as well as remarkable return of function.
There are no side effects, as PRP comes from your own body to stimulate you to heal, but in a faster and concentrated way. You will start feeling less pain week 2-4 weeks, with maximum recovery by 12 weeks. The healing is permanent or until your body balance is more inflammatory than anti-inflammation.
While responses to treatment will vary, most people will require from one to three treatments. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have, if the treatments are spaced appropriately. The risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.