What Are PRP Injections?
PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections represent a newer form of therapy, where substances taken from a person’s own body are used to treat tissues that are damaged or injured. Referred to as an autologous blood therapy, a person’s own blood components are used to stimulate healing.
When a person is injured, blood platelets and white blood cells work together to promote healing. The growing factors found in platelets are released in greater number when the body’s tissues are harmed. PRP injections allow medical professionals to take concentrated platelets from a person’s blood and the growth factors induced by them and inject them into parts of the body that have been injured or damaged. Doing so helps to naturally, promote healing.
PRP therapy signifies a huge leap forward in the field of orthopedic treatment. PRP injections make it possible for orthopedic specialists to treat individuals with tissue damage and/or injury in a way that is less invasive and less risky. This could mean a less painful recovery for patients.
PRP injection therapy is the first-ever form of regenerative treatment for soft tissue, muscle, ligament or tendon damage or injury. The growth factors released by the platelets help to stimulate healing and the growth of new tissue. Over time, the new tissue will start to shrink. This shrinkage will result in the ligament, muscle and/or tendon, becoming, tighter and stronger.
What Conditions Can PRP Injections Be Used To Treat?
PRP injection therapy can be used to treat a number of conditions. We have listed some of them, by body part, below. Please note, this is a partial list. Those interested in PRP injection therapy as a treatment option, should speak with their doctor about whether or not it is an appropriate solution for their particular ailment.
- Hip: Pyriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint pain, hamstring tears or tendonitis.
- Knees: Tears or sprains of the knee ligaments, bursitis, patellar tendinosis and tendonitis.
- Arm and Shoulder: Bicipital tendonitis, partial tears of the rotator cuff and also tendonopathy and tendonitis, tennis or golf elbow
- Feet and lower leg: Plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, partial tears of the Achilles and tendonitis in this ligament
Why Use Platelet Injections?
Platelet injections are ideal for individuals who would prefer a less invasive form of treatment for whatever ails them. Until therapies such as platelet injections were made available, individuals who had severe enough tissue damage or injury were often forced to go under the knife. This is very painful and recovery times quite long in some cases. How well the tissue or ligament was repaired, depended upon the skill and experience of the doctor who performed the surgery.
PRP injections allow the body to take over the healing process. Injecting concentrated platelets into damaged tissue and/or ligaments, where growth factors take over, jumpstart the healing process. This type of therapy takes much of the pain out of the recovering process, because it doesn’t require surgery and subsequent, painful rehabilitation.
It will be important for individuals considering platelet injection therapy, to do their best to find a doctor who has some experience in this area. Admittedly, this can be difficult because this type of treatment is so new. However, whether or not a person has the best possible outcome, will be determined in large part, by the skill and experience of the person providing the therapy.
Are Platelet Injections Safe?
Platelet injections are considered to be safe. No foreign substances are being injected into the body, only ones that occur naturally in the body. This is one of the reasons that people are so excited about the possibilities PRP therapy represents. Using the body to heal itself is revolutionary. As therapies such as platelet injection prove to be effective, expect to see similar ones in other areas.
Research studies and clinical trials support the contention that platelet injection therapy is safe. The risks are minimal that any type of complication or negative reaction will occur. Because no foreign objects or substance are being injected into the body, there is no risk of it rejecting the treatment and no disease transmission risks. The only noted risk, and it is a small one, is that the injection might cause some type of infection to develop. This is not unique to platelet injection therapy. Any time a person has an injection, they are at risk for developing some sort of infection.
There is some evidence that the anti-bacterial properties of platelet rich plasma may help guard it against infection, even serious ones, such as pseudomonas and staphylococcus infections.
What’s The Future of Platelet Injections Look Like?
The future looks bright for platelet injection therapy. As people seek out less invasive treatment options for injury and other types of conditions, therapies such as platelet injection will become more in demand. Patients aren’t the only ones interested in such therapies. Many doctors are excited about the gains being made in this area.
The ability to treat a patient using the substances from their own body, such as platelet rich plasma, is ground breaking and likely just the beginning of these forms of treatment. Further research will undoubtedly continue to occur, eventually giving both patients and doctors more options. The longevity of treatments such as platelet injections will depend upon their effectiveness. The next few years will help determine whether or PRP therapies, in their current form, are here to stay.
Summary of PRP Injections
PRP injection therapy involves a doctor drawing a patient’s own blood, which is placed in a centrifuge. The PRP is extracted using a multi-step process. The platelets are concentrated and then injected into the damaged or injured part of the body, often times using ultrasound. The number of times an individual will need to have this procedure done will depend on the seriousness of their injury and the body’s response to the treatment. In most cases, between 1 and 3 PRP injections are required.
PRP therapy is an important and exciting development in the area of orthopedic care. It is fairly new and because it is, the impact that it has on the treatment protocols for certain types of injury will depend on how effective it proves to be.