Athletes and active individuals who endure chronic pain from tendon injuries or osteoarthritis may finally get relief from a safe, non-surgical procedure. It’s called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, and it utilizes platelets from the athletes’ own blood to rebuild a damaged tendon or cartilage. It has been successful in not only relieving the pain, but also in jumpstarting the healing process.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is done in an exam room and takes less than an hour. The patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge for 15 minutes to separate out the platelets. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the damaged portion of the tendon or cartilage with the guidance of an ultrasound machine.
Patients are put on a program of relative rest followed by physical therapy for the first 6 weeks. After about 6 to 12 weeks, patients are re-evaluated for improvement. Some patients with more difficult injuries may require more than one injection to achieve successful outcomes. The majority of PRP patients find that within 3 months they can return to most or all of the activities they were doing before the pain started.
The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelets. Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells. PRP therapy’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets.