PRP Joint Injections
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have been used periodically over the years in the area of sports medicine, especially in the case of professional athletes. However, as medical science learns more about PRP and as we gain more clinical experience with its application in various medical arenas, PRP is quickly gaining popularity. Whether it be sports injuries or hair loss, we are finding that using a patient’s own healing cells as a therapeutic treatment for numerous medical and cosmetic conditions, really works to accelerate healing and rejuvenation. alone
What is platelet-rich plasma (PRP)?
Before considering Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, a person really needs to understand what it is. Simply put, a person’s blood is comprised of essentially three elements: red blood cells, the cells that carry oxygen around the body; platelets, a type of blood cell that regulates healing throughout the body; and plasma, the liquid portion of blood. Most people associate Platelets with only blood clotting when in fact its clotting capabilities only scratch the surface of what platelets are able to do. What many people do not know is that Platelets are also the primary source of growth factor that promote cell reproduction, tissue regeneration and the overall healing within damaged tissue. The term Platelet-rich plasma simply refers to a more concentrated platelet solution that when injected into damaged tissue, can help accelerate tissue regeneration and healing.
To create platelet-rich plasma, a whole blood sample is taken from the patient and separated out into its three constituent parts by way of a centrifuge. Once separated the component representing the PRP is then carefully removed and placed into a syringe for the injection step.
What is a PRP injection?
Once the PRP syringe has been prepared, the solution is then injected into the target area. In this case the Osteoarthritic joint. On occasion, the injection is performed with the assistance of ultrasound-guidance but this is not always necessary depending on the injection target. The objective behind injecting the PRP solution into the target area is to promote accelerated healing and regeneration within the tissue by releasing specific bioproteins or hormones, called growth factors.
Although the specific mechanism of action behind PRP injections is not entirely understood, it is believed that the high concentration of growth factors in PRP helps promote an acceleration in the healing process. The result is a shortened recovery time following injuries, and a proportional decrease in injury related pain and discomfort.
Risks and Side Effects
PRP injections are generally considered low-risk procedures with few if any major side effects. Since the PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood product, the typical side effect profiles involving allergic reactions do not apply unlike when using injectable medications like corticosteroids. The majority of issues reported when performing PRP injections involve the actual blood draw process needed to attain the sample. Some patients have reported feeling lightheaded and there may be some bruising at the site of the blood draw.
If you are considering PRP injections, be sure to book your Free consultation to learn more about how PRP injections and whether you are a candidate for this therapeutic treatment.