Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections aren’t new. In fact, they have been a mainstay of the sports medicine community for over two decades. Professional athletes routinely use PRP to speed up soft tissue healing, with many swearing by it. Reportedly, Steph Curry’s MCL sprain – an injury which typically requires 4-6 weeks of recovery – was resolved in two weeks following PRP treatment, allowing him to play in a pivotal Western Conference Semifinal series.
So what is PRP? Our blood is made up of three components: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, which all float in a liquid called plasma. Platelets contain growth factors which can stimulate wound healing and greatly reduce inflammation. When platelets encounter damaged tissue, they release these growth factors and promote healing. The creation of PRP removes red and white cells from the plasma, leaving behind a highly concentrated, 'platelet rich plasma' – hence the name. Delivering this high concentration of platelets to an inured area, stimulates the body’s own regenerative and anti-inflammatory responses.
A typical PRP treatment involves drawing off blood from the patient, using a centrifuge to separate the blood components, and injecting the platelet rich plasma into an injured area. Since a patient’s own platelets are being injected, the treatment is very well tolerated with little to no side effects, except short-term pain at the injection site. The treatment has shown extremely positive outcomes for healing and pain relief. There are many recent studies that have shown PRP to be superior to traditional treatments for improving pain and function, especially in arthritic knees. One such study is a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, where one PRP injection per week for three weeks into arthritic knees, showed an almost 80 percent improvement compared to the placebo.
PRP is a safe and effective treatment option worth considering for healing soft tissue injury. As with any medical treatment, consult with your healthcare professional to determine how PRP treatment can be incorporated into your recovery plan.