Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Therapy

Although blood mainly consists of a liquid called plasma, it also contains a number of other components including red cells, white cells, and platelets. Platelets circulate in the blood and play a crucial role in blood clotting. They also contain proteins called growth factors, which are needed to stimulate the healing of injuries.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is plasma produced from a person’s blood that has a much higher platelet concentration than usual. The platelet concentration and therefore growth factor concentration in PRP can be three to five times greater than would usually be present in the blood.

Injection of this PRP, enriched with platelets and growth factors, is becoming a popular option for boosting the body’s natural healing process in cases of injury to the tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, bone, and muscles. In some cases, PRP therapy can reduce the need for medication or surgical approaches to musculoskeletal problems. Although researchers are not sure exactly how PRP injection therapy works, studies have shown that the enriched concentration of growth factors in PRP has the potential to increase the speed at which healing occurs.

Preparation and Injection of PRP

To prepare PRP, a patient’s blood sample is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from other blood components and produce platelet-rich plasma that can be collected and treated. The PRP preparation is applied to the injury site via an injection, which may be administered under the guidance of ultrasound or X-ray, to ensure PRP placement is precise. A single injection or a series of injections may be recommended, depending on the injury being treated and how the patient responds to initial therapy.

Once the injection has been given, the patient must avoid exercise or weight-bearing activity for 3 to 7 days, before gradually returning to their usual physical activities. For the period immediately following injection, a doctor may recommend the use of a cast, boot, or brace.

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