More and more, doctors are discovering the positive effects of using platelet-rich plasma to treat injuries. While many professional athletes have used this treatment for years, doctors are now seeing that platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, can be used to help heal injuries that would have otherwise required medication or even surgery.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Our blood is made up of liquid called plasma, platelets, and red and white cells. While typically just known for their clotting abilities, platelets are also full of growth factor proteins, which are extremely helpful in healing injuries. PRP is plasma with a platelet count that is 5 to 10 times greater than normal. To prepare the platelet-rich plasma, your doctor will need to draw blood and then separate the platelets from the rest of the blood with a centrifuge.
When is Platelet-Rich Plasma Used?
To encourage healing, platelet-rich plasma can be used in two different ways. It can be injected directly into an injured area, along with an anesthetic to ease pain and help the healing process, or it can be used in conjunction with surgery to promote faster healing times. The effectiveness of this treatment option depends on the area of the body and if the injury is chronic or acute; however, there are a few conditions and injuries in which PRP has been successful in healing:
Acute muscle and ligament injuries: PRP therapy is most commonly associated with these types of injuries, as many professional athletes prefer it over surgery.
Surgery: PRP has been used in surgeries for ACL tears and torn rotator cuffs to help increase healing times.
Hip and knee arthritis: While there are many effective treatment options when it comes to hip and knee arthritis, many doctors believe that platelet-rich plasma can be just as – if not more – effective in helping reduce pain and inflammation.
Chronic tendon injuries: When it comes to treating chronic tendon injuries, such as runner’s knee or tennis elbow, PRP has been shown to be one of the most effective treatment options. It has also been used to treat tendonitis and inflammation of the tendons in the knee.
While there is still some research that needs to be done on platelet-rich plasma therapy, it has very few risks, and many of the reported side effects are similar to those from cortisone injections and trigger point therapy.
If you are suffering from tendon, muscle or ligament injuries or arthritis, there are many treatment and pain relief options available to you. To learn more about platelet-rich plasma and how it can help you, contact the doctors at Integrated Pain Management.