Sunday, November 27, 2016
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
In my last few blogs I have talked about therapeutic modalities that are considered less traditional than the ole stim and ice. With this blog, I am going to take it a step farther and talk about a type of therapy that has been used in hospitals for several decades but it just beginning to emerge in the outpatient and sports medicine setting. PRP, platelet rich plasma, is blood plasma enriched with blood platelets. This simply means a portion of the athlete’s own blood is drawn, spun and then injected into the injury site in order to promote soft tissue healing. Although there are three types of PRP, the safest and most common type of PRP used is autologous conditioned plasma or ACP.
Overall, the “goal of PRP is to deliver a high concentration of platelet growth factors to enhance healing.”1 PRP is administered a little differently than most therapeutic modalities. First, a blood sample is taken and then placed in a centrifuge and spun in order to separate the concentrated platelets from the rest of the components of the whole blood. The doctor will then take the concentrated platelets and inject it into the injured site. By injecting it straight to the injured site the platelets are able to “activate tenocytes to proliferate quickly and produce collagen to repair injured tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles.”2
PRP or ACP can be used for many different reasons. The majority of the applications can be grouped into four categories including chronic tendinopathies, muscle injuries, acute ligamentous injuries and intraoperative augmentation. Personally, I have seen ACP be used for a wide variety of injuries including a grade 3 quadriceps strain, partially torn MCL and partially torn meniscus.
One of the benefits about using PRP is the fact that side effects are fairly uncommon. Since, the patient is basically getting parts of their own blood injected back into them, there is little to no chance of infection. The only possible ‘side effects’ that are seen with PRP injections consists of inflammation and some pain/soreness for a few days after the injection.
Though PRP injections have been used in operating rooms for quite some time, it is still something that is fairly new in non-operative patients. With as many benefits as it has, there continues to be a substantial amount of work that needs to be done before PRP becomes the standard of care.
1Foster, T. E., Puskas, B. L., Mandelbaum, B. R., Gerhardt, M. B., & Rodeo, S. A. (2009). Platelet-Rich Plasma: From Basic Science to Clinical Applications. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(11), 2259-2272. doi:10.1177/0363546509349921
2What is PRP therapy? (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://orthonc.com/your-health/what-is-prp-therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma: Amplifying Your Body's Natural Healing Abilities! (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.dominickgaribaldidpm.com/blog/post/platelet-rich-plasma-amplifying-your-bodys-natural-healing-abilities.html