What Are PRP Injections?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are treatments for injuries to muscle and other soft tissue. The patient’s own blood is drawn and put through a centrifuge to isolate plasma, which contains platelets and growth factors that the body uses to heal itself.
Platelets are components of blood that are integral to the clotting process and contain proteins called growth factors. They are not cells but rather fragments of cells known as cell elements.
With PRP injections, the growth factors in the platelets help injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments heal faster. Over the years, a number of professional athletes have credited PRP injections with an earlier return to play after injury, including:
- Alex Rodriguez (baseball)
- Kobe Bryant (basketball)
- Rafael Nadal (tennis)
- Tiger Woods (golf)
- Victor Cruz (football)
Common Reasons for PRP Injections
PRP injections have been used for the following conditions:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Acute ligament sprains
- Acute muscle strains
- Patellar tendinitis
Candidates for PRP Injections
Candidates for PRP injections are usually those with a soft tissue condition who have tried more traditional methods of nonsurgical treatment without success. These treatments could include:
PRP is harvested from a patient’s own body. Blood is taken and spun through a machine called a centrifuge to isolate the platelets. The plasma is added to a solution and then injected into the problematic area. Doctors may use ultrasound or other imaging to direct the injection. The procedure takes about an hour.
Recovery and Results
Results and recovery vary on a case-by-case basis. For some people, PRP may provide relief from pain and other symptoms, while for others it proves ineffective. Most people will likely not notice an immediate improvement in symptoms, but their recovery times for their conditions may be shortened.
It is important to note that the effectiveness of PRP has not yet been established in medical literature—study results have been mixed. As such, insurance carriers may not cover the procedure.
If you are considering PRP injections, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists to discuss your options.
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