Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood, also known as "liquid gold". It is composed largely of water and proteins.
What is a PRP Injection?
Platelet Rich Plasma is produced from a persons' own blood, a concentartion of once type of blood cell "platelets", critical for blood clotting.This concentration may be injected to an injured or diseased part of a persons body, to help accelerate the healing of damaged tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones , and joints. A key advantage , being that it can reduce the need for opioids or even over the counter antiinflammatory medication. In fact, the use of antiinflammatories should be stopped since the platelet rich plasma optimizes the intitial inflammatory response involved with ehaling.
How are PRP injections performed?
PRP injections are prepared by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of your own blood. It is then "spun down" in a centrifuge to separates the blood into its various components: red and white blood cells, plasma, platelets, etc. The platelets are collected and concentrated to anywhere from 2 to 8 times their normal number. The platelets are then mixed into a blood plasma liquid base and injected directly into the area of injury.
The activation of the concentrated platelets in platelet-rich plasma releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces. This significantly enhances the body's natural healing process.
PRPs injections are used primarily for soft tissue injuries, such as minor rotator cuff, and achilles tendon tears. It has been demonstrated to improve function and reduce pain in people who have tendonitis or chronic tendinosis conditions such as tennis elbow or golfer's elbow.
It can also be used to treat injuries to ligaments and muscles. Improved muscle regeneration has been shown in gastrocnemius (calf) muscle injuries.
Recent data suggests that PRP treatment is superior to than hyaluronic acid injections (also known as viscosupplementation or “gel shots”) for knee osteoarthritis, especially in the regard to the duration of its positive effect. However, emerging data demonstrates that PRP combined with hyaluronic acid is more effective than either treatment alone.
Side effects of PRP injections are very limited because the injections are created from your own blood, and your body should not reject them or react in any negative way. As with any injection, there is a remote risk of infection. Otherwise, there are no significant risks apart from the variability and unpredictability of how effective the treatment will be for a particular patient.