Plate-rich plasma (PRP) injections represent one of the most promising therapies in regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine treatments are cutting-edge therapies that work with your body’s natural mechanisms to restore or “regenerate” damaged cells and tissues.
Plate-rich plasma injections work by boosting the amount of healing factors present at the site of damaged cells. This can promote faster natural healing without the risks and side effects of prescription medication or surgery.
Orthopedic surgeon Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, and the team at Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, have extensive experience in using PRP to decrease pain and improve function. Their expertise in the use of PRP injections and other regenerative medicine therapies can help you naturally reduce or relieve pain, restore function, and accelerate the healing process.
In this blog, Dr. Bostick discusses the science behind PRP injections and how they can help you heal faster.
The power of platelets
When bleeding or an injury occurs, your body dispatches platelets to the affected site. Platelets contain special proteins, called growth factors, and they facilitate tissue growth and repair.
These growth factors promote healing by attracting blood flow and stem cells to the damaged area and by increasing collagen production. Together, these natural mechanisms work to speed up healing.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy makes use of the healing power of platelets by drawing some of your blood, making a concentrate of the platelets, and injecting the platelet serum into the area that needs healing.
The unique healing effects of PRP were recognized in the 1970s. Some of the first uses of PRP involved applications in maxillofacial surgery about 10 years later. Today, PRP therapy administered by injection has proven effective for promoting healing in a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.
How PRP injections work
First, your provider draws some of your blood. Then, it’s put in a centrifuge, where the platelets are separated from the rest of your blood’s components. The resulting serum will contain 5-10 times more platelets than would exist in the same volume of untreated blood.
The PRP solution is then injected into the injured area to spur healing and tissue regeneration. Platelet-rich plasma therapy may be able to help delay injury progression, reduce pain, accelerate the healing process, and potentially reduce the need for surgery.
When administering PRP injections, fluoroscopy or ultrasound may be used to ensure that the injection is administered precisely at the site of damage or pain.
Conditions appropriate for PRP injections
Platelet-rich plasma injections can be used to treat many types of musculoskeletal damage and injuries. This treatment may be especially helpful in treating chronic tendon injuries that require a more extended healing period. When surgery is necessary, PRP injections may be useful in accelerating post-surgical healing in affected muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Some examples of conditions that may benefit from PRP injections include:
- Tennis elbow and other tendon injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Cartilage injuries
- Muscle or ligament strains
- Spinal stenosis
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)
Results of PRP injections
Results often start occurring after several weeks of PRP injections. You may notice a continual reduction in pain and an improvement in function and strength over the next 3-6 months.
Some patients report temporary pain or tenderness at the injection site after treatment. However, there’s no risk of an allergic reaction with PRP therapy, because the treatment uses your own blood.
The incidence of complications of PRP treatment, such as tissue damage, infection, or nerve damage, isn’t higher than that associated with cortisone injections, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, unlike cortisone shots that may simply relieve pain and inflammation, PRP injections promote healing and long-term restoration of damaged cells and tissues.
To find out more about PRP injections and whether this treatment may be able to help you, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.