Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine treatment that helps to speed the repair of injuries to damaged or degenerated tissues. Platelet rich plasma treatment can be particularly helpful in healing sprains and strains in an efficient, and effective manner. This is why PRP has become an important aid to recovery from the common tendon, ligament, muscle and joint problems associated with athletics and sports.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is derived from your own blood. The liquid part of your blood, without the cells is called ‘plasma’. Within the plasma are all the cells which are contained in blood and these cells can be divided into red cells, white cells, and platelets. It is the platelets that we are interested in for speeding repair to cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Platelets are tiny specialized cells that play a major role in your body’s ability to heal. Platelets are packed with numerous repair proteins known as ‘growth factors’ and ‘cytokines’. These are the proteins that stimulate tissue repair and regrowth. By concentrating your platelets and placing them very precisely in areas of injury, we can give a powerful boost to the repair process.
The studies of PRP injections overwhelmingly show that PRP is superior to placebo (‘fake’) injections and to standard procedures including cortisone injections. Yet there are studies that seem to show that PRP does not work. The reason for this is that all PRP injections are not the same. Some work a LOT better than others. There are big differences in how PRP is prepared and how it is injected.
For example, if you are having knee pain because you’ve sprained your MCL ligament, an injection of PRP behind the kneecap is not likely to work very well. Or perhaps your shoulder is painful when reaching because you have a small tear in the rotator cuff ligament. An injection into the shoulder bursa is also probably not going to be very helpful. This is because PRP needs to be injected directly into the damaged ligament under direct visualization using advanced imaging to be successful. This is a skill that not many physicians have.
PRP preparations are not the same. Most PRP is made using commercially available bedside centrifuges. These do a relatively poor job of isolating platelets from the blood and the PRP preparations made this way are usually contaminated with red blood cells. Red blood cells are toxic to joint tissues. If present in PRP, they will cause increased pain and limit the healing effect of platelets. Bedside centrifuges are also limited in their ability to concentrate platelets to high levels which limits the concentration of repair hormones that can be injected.
Interventional Orthopedics CT prepares PRP by hand in a clinical laboratory using patented Regenexx techniques. This allows us to customize the concentration of platelets for individual patients and for individual joints within a single patient as needed. It also allows us to create the purest preparation of platelets possible free of contamination with red blood cells. This “platelet rich plasma” can be injected into the sprained, strained, damaged or degenerated area to promote more active healing of the tissue. Further, PRP injections can be combined with stem cell injections to create a powerful, pro-growth environment in damaged areas of the body.
PRP injections are often the nonsurgical treatment of choice to help patients heal and repair joint and soft-tissue injuries.
PRP injections are particularly effective in treating torn ligaments and tendons. Small tears of the rotator cuff, achilles tendon, or the tendons involved with tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can be treated without surgery with the precise application of highly concentrated platelets. Ligaments damaged in sprains of the knee, the elbow or the shoulder are effectively treated with needling techniques using PRP.
PRP for arthritis treatment is most effective in the early stages of degeneration of cartilage in a joint. This is typically when an injection of cortisone is offered to the patient in traditional orthopedic settings. While this may temporarily reduce symptoms, cortisone does nothing to reverse the underlying cause of joint degeneration. Also, cortisone is toxic to the cartilage cells known as chondrocytes that keep cartilage healthy. PRP therapy, on the other hand, supports chondrocyte growth and can alter the cells biology to preserve rather than destroy cartilage. PRP for knees, PRP for shoulders, PRP for arthritis in any joint can be an effective means of slowing degeneration and promoting healthy joint tissue.
Interventional Orthopedics CT offers state-of-the-art PRP injections in Connecticut. If you are seeking a minimally invasive alternative to surgery to allow you to return to normal daily activities, a fit and active lifestyle or perhaps perform better in the athletic and sports activities you wish to enjoy, Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine treatment with PRP may be an appropriate option for you.
If you, a family member or friend wish to learn more about PRPl treatment, please Schedule an Appointment with Regenerative Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialist Daniel Southern, M.D. in Wilton in Fairfield County Connecticut by calling 203-456-5717.