Platelet-rich plasma therapy – also referred to as PRP injection – is an exciting branch of sports medicine that allows athletes to heal and recover from chronic pain and/or injuries of the tendons, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, nerves, and more. The treatment is safe, non-surgical, and doesn’t even use drugs. With PRP injections, the patient’s own blood platelets are the healing agent.
At Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, sports medicine physicians can help you get back in the game with fast-acting, highly effective platelet-rich plasma therapy. Learn more below about this revolutionary alternative to steroid injections and surgery.
How does platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy work?
The idea behind PRP therapy is relatively simple on the surface, but a working knowledge of your body’s natural repair functions can make PRP easy to understand…
Everyone knows that blood platelets help stop a cut. But researchers now know that these platelets do more than coagulate and stop blood flow; they also release growth factors, which draw special regenerative cells (“progenitor cells”) to the site of the injury. Platelet-rich plasma therapy maximizes this platelet/progenitor cell relationship.
During your appointment at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, your physician will perform a basic blood draw. The blood is placed in a centrifuge that separates the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells. After about 15 minutes, the platelet-rich plasma is removed from the centrifuge. Using ultrasound guidance, your physician will place a needle into the damaged area of your body that requires treatment, and inject the platelet-rich plasma into the injury site. The high concentration of platelets is loaded with growth factors, which expedites the healing and recovery process. This entire procedure is done in-office and takes about an hour to complete.
How often are PRP injections administered?
After you receive a PRP injection, you will be asked to return to Hedley Orthopaedic Institute for a follow-up appointment six to eight weeks later. Your sports medicine physician will evaluate your injury to see how effective PRP therapy has been. While some patients may be fully or nearly recovered, most patients will return for two or three more treatments. Injections are usually spaced eight to 12 weeks apart.
What are the benefits of PRP injections?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy offers many benefits. Athletes are especially interested in this treatment option, as it can help speed up the recovery process and get them back to the game.
- Natural healing. Your body provides everything that’s needed for its own healing.
- Scar-free. PRP injections leave behind no scars.
- Affordable. Compared to the cost of an open or minimally invasive surgery, PRP therapy is a very affordable alternative.
- Quick recovery. Most patients will have motion the day following the procedure. Inflammation tends to diminish within 10 to 14 days. Many athletes will see significant improvement in four to eight weeks.
- Safe. PRP therapy involves very few complications and risks. Plus, the entire procedure is done in-office on an outpatient basis.
What kind of injuries can PRP injections treat?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy can be used to treat:
- Ligament Injuries, including sprains, strains, and injuries to the MCL and LCL in the knee.
- Tendon Injuries, including rotator cuff, Achilles tendon, Tennis/Golfer’s elbow, and patellar and quadriceps tendons.
- Muscle injuries, including hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, biceps, and triceps.
Cartilage injuries, including osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, labral tears in the shoulder and hip, and more.
- Stress fractures, plantar fasciosis, turf toe, shin splints, and general patellofemoral (knee) pain may be treated as well.
For more information about platelet-rich plasma injections and other regenerative medicine services, contact us. Sports medicine services available in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.