During the past several years, much has been written about a preparation called Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and its potential effectiveness in the treatment of pain and injuries. Recent research has shown increasing evidence for the use of PRP for arthritis and knee pain in addition to soft tissue injuries.
Many famous athletes — Tiger Woods, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and several others — have received PRP for various problems, and many have credited PRP with their being able to return more quickly to competition.
PRP helps patients heal and recover from chronic pain and/or injuries of the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. The treatment is safe, non-surgical, and does not even use drugs. With PRP injections, the patient’s own blood platelets are the healing agent.
Learn more below about this revolutionary alternative to steroid injections and surgery. http://www.carolinahand.com/platelet-therapy/
How does platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy work?
The idea behind PRP therapy is relatively simple on the surface, but a working knowledge of your body’s natural repair functions can make PRP easy to understand.
Everyone knows that blood platelets help stop a cut. But researchers now know that these platelets do more than coagulate and stop blood flow; they also release growth factors, which draw special regenerative cells (“progenitor cells”) to the site of the injury. Platelet-rich plasma therapy maximizes this platelet/progenitor cell relationship.
During the appointment a basic blood draw is performed. The blood is placed in a centrifuge that separates the platelets and plasma from the red blood cells. After about 15 minutes, the platelet-rich plasma is removed from the centrifuge. Using ultrasound guidance, Dr. Lehman injects the platelet-rich plasma into the injury site. The high concentration of platelets is loaded with growth factors, which expedites the healing and recovery process. This entire procedure is done in-office and takes about an hour to complete.
How often are PRP injections administered?
This will depend on the specific condition being treated. Dr. Lehman will often recommend one to start with potential for repeating 2-3 times if needed.
What are the benefits of PRP injections?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy offers many benefits. Athletes are especially interested in this treatment option, as it can help speed up the recovery process and get them back to the game.
Natural healing. Your body provides everything that is needed for its own healing.
Safer than corticosteroid injections, which has shown to cause deterioration of tissue.
PRP therapy involves very few complications and risks. Plus, the entire procedure is done in-office on an outpatient basis.
What kind of injuries can PRP injections treat?
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy can be used to treat:
- Joint pain, including osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and shoulder.
- Ligament Injuries, including sprains, strains, and injuries to the MCL and LCL in the knee. Meniscal tears and labral tears in the shoulder, hip, and more.
- Tendon Injuries, including rotator cuff, Achilles tendon, Tennis/Golfer’s elbow, and patellar and quadriceps tendons.
- Muscle injuries, including hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, biceps, and triceps.
- Plantar fasciitis and general knee pain may be treated as well.
Dr. Christie Lehman, MD, FABRMR R-MSK, grew up playing soccer competitively at the club level, semi-professionally, and at the Division 1 collegiate level at Wake Forest University. There she played against the likes of Abby Wambach and other Olympic gold medalists. Her career was unfortunately plagued by knee injuries, and subsequent surgeries, which sparked her interest in sports medicine. Dr. Lehman is now a member of the medical team at Carolina Hand & Sports Medicine.