Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been used since the 1980s but has more recently come into use in the last 15 years or so for musculoskeletal application. Currently many high level professional athletes have used PRP to recover from injuries. It has many applications for joints and soft tissue (tendons and ligaments)
What conditions does PRP treat?
Partial Rotator Cuff Tears
Arthritic Low Back Pain
How does PRP work?
The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells to the area of injury. The platelets have many growth and healing factors, so they start to repair the tissue and attract stem cells. PRP’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets directly into the area in need.
Platelets have regenerative properties to promote healing and act as a magnet for stem cells. For this reason, PRP has the ability to heal an injury or chronic area of inflammation where steroid injections can actually inhibit the healing process by blunting the inflammatory response.
How is the treatment done?
A small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The process is handled manually by a lab technician, producing higher concentrations of platelets and a much more pure concentration of the beneficial blood components. The PRP is then injected into and around the point of injury, accelerating and strengthening the healing process. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a low risk of allergic reaction.
How many treatments are needed?
Typically a patient would be evaluated at around 6 weeks post-injection to gauge their progress. Some patients respond well to one injection, while others may need 2 - 3. For some chronic conditions, such as arthritis, some patients may need boosters every 10 months or so once the pain is controlled initially.
When can I expect to see improvement?
Most patients see improvement 4 - 6 weeks after the injection.
Ask your provider for a consultation with Nick Kenhart FNP-C to see if Platelet Rich Plasma is right for you.
Currently insurance does not cover the cost of this as they consider it experimental.