Regenerative Medicine: PRP Injection Therapy

The 26 Review

  • What are PRP Injections Platelet-rich Plasma therapy uses a high concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. 
  • How Platelets are injected directly into the injured or diseased body tissue, thus releasing growth properties that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells the body produces
  • Why An alternative to surgery but more aggressive than basic conservative treatment
  • Recommended for Patients who struggle with chronic tendonitis and arthritis 
  • Length of Surgery 30 minutes 
  • Downtime none

Let’s take a closer look…

PRP Injection therapy or platelet-rich plasma therapy is an alternative treatment method for healing injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. This therapy utilizes injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to encourage quicker and more efficient healing. In simple terms, this therapy uses a patient’s own healing system to improve their own musculoskeletal ailments. Plasma is the liquid portion of the entire blood sample and it is composed largely of water and proteins, providing a mode of transportation for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to circulate throughout the body. Platelets are also called thrombocytes and these blood cells are in charge of causing blood clots and other necessary growth healing functions. The activated platelets that are injected directly into the injured or diseased tissue(s) release growth properties that stimulate and/or increase the number of reparative cells the body produces.

Why PRP Injection Therapy 

PRP has been found to significantly enhance the healing process, specifically in cases of achilles tendon ruptures and other soft-tissue injuries. PRP injections have demonstrated they can improve function and reduce pain in individuals who have chronic tendinitis and arthritis. These injections can also reduce the need for anti-inflammatories and stronger pain medications, like opioids. In addition, there are very limited side effects associated with this treatment method, because the injections are created from the patient’s own blood. PRP injections can also be used in surgery to facilitate better healing results in both soft tissue and bone healing.

How: Steps of PRP Injection Therapy

Prior to PRP injection therapy beginning, one or more tubes of the patient’s blood will be drawn and taken away to run it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. The amount of blood taken for the injection will depend on where the PRP will be injected. The medical professional will then perform an ultrasound to pinpoint the specific areas for injection. Once the platelets are activated, they are then injected directly into the affected area. PRP can be injected in a few different ways, so it is important to speak with your podiatrist to determine the correct treatment plan for you. In some cases, a topical numbing lidocaine solution is applied to the injection site. While other times, a local anesthetic is mixed in with the PRP to reduce any discomfort during treatment.   

As mentioned, there are few side effects that can occur during this procedure, due to the injected substances coming directly from a patient’s own body. However, there are risks from the injection itself that can occur, including; infection, nerve injuries, pain at the injection site, and tissue damage. It is important to discuss these potential risks with your medical professional, as well as the steps to take in order to minimize these risks. 

When PRP is injected after an injury, the medical professional may recommend resting the affected area. However, these recommendations are more related to the injury and less related to the PRP injection. Most patients can continue on with their daily activities following PRP injection therapy. Since PRP injections are intended to promote growth and healing, patients may notice an immediate difference after the procedure. However, it is not uncommon to feel a difference after several weeks or months. All in all, the affected area may heal faster with PRP injections compared to when they aren’t received. 

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