Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a regenerative medicine therapy becoming increasingly recognized as a non-steroid alternative to improving tissue healing and rehabilitation. While PRP treatment has received increasing attention from the media, and has been used by many notable professional athletes, its use in medicine dates back decades. An early version of PRP was pioneered in the 1990s in maxillo-facial and plastic surgery to help reduce scarring and promote healing.
The process for producing PRP is straightforward. After obtaining a blood sample from a patient, the blood is put into a centrifuge, which is a tool that separates the blood into its many components. The PRP can then be collected and delivered to an injured area of bone, joint, or soft tissue. Once the activated platelets are injected into the abnormal tissue, growth factors are released that recruit and increase the proliferation of reparative cells called mesenchymal stem cells.
Ultrasound guidance can assist in the precise placement of PRP. After the injection, a patient must avoid exercise for a short period of time before beginning a rehabilitation program. Abstaining from the use of NSAIDs both several weeks before and after a PRP injection is also important because NSAIDS can inhibit tissue healing.
Several clinical studies have demonstrated that PRP injections improve function and decreased pain caused by various soft tissue, ligament, and tendon conditions in many parts of the body. Studies are also showing benefits for osteoarthritis—especially in the knee. In a small study involving knee osteoarthritis, PRP treatment was shown to be more effective than hyaluronic acid treatment. And, recently published studies show that COMBINING PRP with a joint lubricant called hyaluronic acid may boost its effectiveness.
Still, the most promising results have been seen when PRP treatment is used for chronic tendon conditions, such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and Achilles tendinosis. PRP has also resulted in positive or similar results when used in the treatment of rotator cuff tears and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries in the knee.
Key Points to Remember:
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) comes from a patient’s own blood.
- PRP is a concentrated source of growth factors and cellular signaling factors that play a significant role in the biology of healing.
- Basic science studies show that PRP treatment may improve healing in many tissues.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines should be stopped before and after PRP treatment is given.
- Some new evidence supports combining PRP with an inject-able joint lubricant called hyaluronic acid for knee osteoarthritis.
The specialists are Columbia Pain Management, PC are experts at using PRP for musculoskeletal injuries. Our Center is the only Regenexx-licensed affiliate in the Pacific Northwest using a proprietary form of PRP called Super Concentrated Platelets (SCP). By using a manual processing method in our own lab, we are able to produce to higher concentrations of PRP than what is typical and customize treatment to the patient’s specific pain problem. If you’re feeling stuck, stymied, or frustrated by lack of healing and persistent pain, then we might be able to help. Call us at (541) 719-6469 or visit us on the web at www.columbiapain.org to see if a PRP injection can get you back to doing the things you enjoy most.