PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy was originally popularized in sports medicine. Professional athletes needing to recover quickly were the first to utilize PRP. Many athletes and active individuals have avoided surgeries and lengthy recovery times thanks to this natural, non-invasive treatment. Even when surgery isn’t needed, many patients still elect to have PRP. Simply put, injuries heal faster with PRP therapy than without.
How does PRP work?
Platelets are tiny blood cells that function as first responders to injury. Just like paramedics rush to the scene of an accident, platelets are chemically attracted to damage. These cells contain growth factors and proteins that stimulate regeneration. They also alert the immune system to the damage and begin coordinating complex healing mechanisms. They start the growth and regeneration of many types of tissue when placed in an injured area.
Is PRP just for injuries?
PRP is NOT just for injuries! It has been shown to help older patients with arthritis and degeneration. Many younger patients prefer this treatment option because it uses their own body’s natural healing and growth factors. Patients who have failed traditional treatment with medications and therapy may still be candidates for PRP. Many patients prefer PRP as a first line therapy to avoid side effects from drugs and surgery. Because PRP is gathered from your own blood, there are virtually NO serious side effects to this treatment.
What can I expect?
An initial visit is needed to determine if you are a candidate for PRP. An MRI could be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other complicating conditions. If PRP is determined to be an option, the procedure will be scheduled on a different day and will take about an hour.
When Can I Expect Relief?
PRP does not provide immediate relief; instead, it sets in motion a repair mechanism that does take some time. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed the following results in patients with chronic elbow tendinosis:
- 46% pain relief by 4 weeks
- 60% pain relief by 8 weeks
- 81% pain relief by 6 months
At the conclusion of the study, 93% of patients were completely satisfied with the PRP treatment and had avoided surgery!