Our blood is comprised of a liquid component called plasma and solid components which include the platelets, red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs). Platelets are essential for blood clotting. They also consist of growth factors, which are special proteins involved in our body’s healing process.
Platelet rich plasma or PRP refers to blood that has high concentration of platelets and plasma without RBCs and WBCs. PRP contains 5 to 10 times the number of growth factors than a normal blood sample thus enhancing the healing capability of the PRP.
To obtain platelet rich plasma, a blood sample is withdrawn from the patient. Then the sample blood is subjected to a process called centrifugation where the blood is spun in a machine separating the platelets from the other blood cells, which increases their concentration in the plasma.
Platelet rich plasma is a remedial therapy that can be used to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions such as:
Research is still ongoing to determine the effectiveness of platelet rich plasma therapy in the treatment of fractures, knee arthritis and as a surgical intervention to repair torn rotator cuff tendons in the shoulders or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knees.
Your surgeon may anesthetize the injured region with a local or general anesthetic. Next, a PRP injection is injected at the injured site. Sometimes an ultrasound guidance may be required for proper needle placement. In some patients, like those affected with Achilles tendonitis, a mixture of local anesthetic and PRP may be injected directly into the inflamed tissues in the heel.
The results of platelet rich plasma therapy depend upon the following factors:
Platelet rich plasma therapy is usually safe. However, it may have certain risks and complications such as:
Following the PRP therapy, you will experience the following: