PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is an exciting area of regenerative medicine. It involves taking a sample of your own blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the other blood cells. Platelets are the smallest of the white blood cells and are unique in containing all the healing, repair and regenerating factors for your body, key components of the body’s natural clotting and healing processes. Spinning the blood in the centrifuge eliminates the other blood cells but concentrates the platelets in the plasma (platelet rich), turbo charging its healing and repair capabilities. It is this portion that is injected into the affected areas such as soft tissues and joints to achieve pain relief, repair and regeneration.
PRP has been around for decades but more recently its applications have exploded as more research and evidence-based practice evolves. This amazing potential has seen PRP treatments expand into all fields of medicine including orthopaedic (joints, muscles and ligaments), dermatology (scars, wounds, ulcers), cosmetic and other therapeutic fields because of its anti-inflammatory, healing and regenerating abilities.
The plasma is autologous, meaning it comes from your own body, so there are no risks of adverse reactions or introducing chemical or infective agents, so it is completely safe.
PRP has been reported be very effective for joint pain from various causes, particularly the common osteoarthritis. There are studies and clinical experience that show that even a single treatment with PRP will reduce inflammation and improve pain levels significantly, but generally a course of treatments may be indicated.
Symptoms may start to improve in as little as a few days
Yes, PRP can work on old injuries. The prepared plasma is injected into the damaged tissue or joint to stimulate regrowth and repair by infiltrating growth and repair factors directly into the injured area.
Whilst there are studies that show one injection is effective, we generally recommend a course of two or three injections spaced approximately four weeks apart for maximum benefit. Joint treatments are performed under ultrasound guidance where indicated.
PRP works differently to corticosteroid (cortisone) injections which are often used for their potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving actions. Cortisone is very effective but short-lived in its effects and limited to three injections per year because, unlike PRP, repeated injections may result in a degree of further degeneration or thinning of the tissues over time. The opposite is true with PRP injections, there is no limit as to how many PRP injections can be performed as PRP is regenerative and each additional treatment will result in further benefits to the tissues in the longer term.
Most concerns have more than one course of treatment. Feel free to contact us so one of our team can discuss options for your unique concern.