What is platelet rich plasma (PRP)?

Platelet Rich Plasma is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. Platelets contain growth factors which are very important in the healing of musculoskeletal tissues. The concentration of platelets – and thus the concentration of growth factors – can be 5 to 10 times greater than normal. PRP technology was developed 20 years ago for heart surgery, to aid in wound healing and blood loss. PRP has gained in popularity recently with many famous professional athletes such as Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu having received PRP treatment for various injuries. They have credited the PRP with their being able to return more quickly to competition. PRP has been widely used in Europe to treat tendon injuries and osteoarthritis, and has gained popularity in North America. PRP is a treatment option for many non-healing muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. PRP is also beneficial in the treatment of osteoarthritic joints.

Growth Factors in PRP

  • Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-ß)
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)
  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF)
  • Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF)

How is a PRP procedure done?

The patient’s own blood is drawn and then placed into a special port. A centrifuge is then used to separate or suspend the various parts of blood plasma in order to separate the platelets out. These platelets are then isolated into a separate syringe for direct application. The injured or painful site is cleaned and prepared prior to injection.

Is PRP the right treatment for me?

Patients should consider PRP treatment if they have a painful osteoarthritis or a tendon injury in which conservative management has not provided symptomatic relief. PRP offers a sound alternative treatment with inherently minimal risks, aside from local injection site soreness. Benefits of PRP treatment includes:

  • Improvement in symptoms.
  • Elimination of both pain and traditional treatments such as medications, cortisone injections, or surgery.
  • Dramatic return of function.