Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a product of blood that is high in platelets. Basically, PRP is a concentrated amount of platelets in a small amount of blood product (plasma) that can be injected into various locations in the body to promote healing. Until recently, PRP use has been confined to the hospital setting. This was largely related to the steep costs of separating the platelets from the blood and also the large quantity of blood needed to produce a suitable amount of platelets. Newer technology now allows healthcare providers to harvest and produce a sufficient quantity of platelets from about 50-60 cc of blood. The entire procedure, including the blood draw, is done in the office.
What’s all the hype about PRP?
In the body, platelets account for about 10% of the overall blood components. In PRP, we can turn the table and use a concentration that is about 90% platelets and 10% plasma. This high concentration of plasma, the platelet rich plasma, is used to treat chronic inflammatory issues, injuries, arthritis and tendinitis.
PRP allows the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a quicker rate. During the natural healing process, the body sends many cells and cell-types to the area of treatment to initiate the healing process. One of those cell types is platelets. Platelets perform many functions, including formation of a blood clot and release of growth factors (GF) into the area of treatment. These growth factors promote the body to repair itself by stimulating stem cells to regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors released and sent to the area of treatment, the more stem cells are stimulated to produce new tissue. PRP allows the body to heal faster and much more efficiently.
PRP Has Many Clinical Applications
- Knee: Patellar Tendinitis, patellar femoral syndrome, chondromalacia patella, partially torn or strained major ligaments of knee, meniscus tears, arthritis, and patellar instability
- Hip: Iliotibial band tendinitis (ITB Syndrome), psoas tendinitis and bursitis, greater trochanteric bursitis, hip labrum tears, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, arthritis
- Shoulder: Rotator cuff tendinitis or tear, rotator cuff impingement syndrome or bursitis, bicipital tendinitis, labrum tears, arthritis, instability
- Wrist/Hand: DeQuervaine’s tenosynovitis, arthritis, wrist and/or finger tendinitis, ligament tears, and dysfunction of fingers
- Elbow: Elbow tendonitis and epicondylitis, arthritis
- Ankle/Foot: Achilles tendinitis, peroneal tendinitis, arthritis, recurrent ankle sprains, and other foot or ankle tendinitis
PRP Also Has Many Advantages
Safety:Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a by-product from the patient’s own blood, for this reason, the transmission of disease(s) is not an issue.
Convenience: PRP can be generated in the office in approximately 10 minutes, during the course of a regular patient visit.
Cost effectiveness: Since Platelet Rich Plasma harvesting is done with only 50 cc of blood which is drawn in the office; the patient does not need to incur the expense of the harvesting procedure in a hospital or at a blood bank.
Frequently Asked Questions About PRP
Is PRP safe? Yes. During the in-office procedure a small amount (about 50 cc) of the patients’ blood is draw. The patients’ blood is then placed in the PRP centrifuge machine and spun down. In about 15 minutes or less, the PRP is formed and is ready to use.
Will my insurance cover the costs? The cost of the platelet rich plasma application must be paid by the patient. Unfortunately insurance does not cover this cost.
Are there any contraindications to PRP? Very few. Unfortunately, patients who have bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this procedure. Please check with your surgeon and/or primary care physician to help determine if PRP is right for you.
Am I a candidate?
Dr. Penni Vachon, APRN will assess each patient and determine whether PRP will be an effective course of treatment for them. Research has proven that soft tissue injuries respond the best to PRP. Soft tissue injuries include tendonitis, tendinosis, tendon tears, ligament sprains or tears, and muscle tears. PRP has also proven to help with cartilage degeneration that is seen in arthritis. Another potential benefit of PRP is non-surgical treatment of labral tears in the hip and shoulder.
How long does PRP take to “work”?
Most patients notice some element of improvement by 2-6 weeks after PRP.
How long does PRP last?
Research has shown that in many situations, PRP will last about one complete tissue cycle, which is an average of about 5 years.