What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is a promising non- surgical treatment option for many injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Originally, PRP was used to enhance tissue healing of repaired muscles and tendons at the time of surgery. However, in the last decade, it has become possible to use PRP in an office setting. While still considered experimental, PRP can reduce healing time in injured muscles, tendons and ligaments and lead to a long-lasting reduction in the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
How is PRP Prepared?
PRP is prepared by separating the red cells from the platelets in a sample of whole blood withdrawn from a patient’s arm. This step is the same as having a blood test. Once separated by centrifugation the platelet rich portion of serum is removed and injected into the patient’s site of injury. The use of ultrasound to guide the injection is very important to optimize accuracy.
How does PRP Work?
Platelets are commonly known for their role in clotting but they also are rich in tissue growth factors and other natural proteins that enhance wound healing. And because the PRP is collected from the patient’s own blood there is no risk of allergic reaction or acquiring unexpected viral infections.
PRP mixtures have a higher concentration of platelets than whole blood, and depending upon how it is prepared will have different concentrations of the immune system white blood cells.
What can PRP Treat?
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- Tennis Elbow
- Patellar and Achilles tendon injuries
- Small muscle tears
PRP preparations with fewer leucocytes have been found to better improve the symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the knee and hip for up to one year. PRP has also been found to be helpful for the treatment of Lateral Epicondylosis, or “tennis elbow”. PRP may also be helpful for Patellar Tendonosis (“jumper’s knee) and Achilles’ Tendon injuries but the evidence is mixed. Many people may still choose to try PRP for these tendon problems because they are difficult to treat injuries.
PRP is used in a variety of other areas of medicine such as dental surgery and cosmetic dermatology. Although for OA and other musculoskeletal injuries are medical conditions, PRP is not covered by provincial health plans or most extended health benefits at this time.
To find out more, book an appointment with one of our sport medicine doctors to discuss whether PRP will be helpful for you. For more information on the PRP technology that is used at LiveActive Sport Medicine, please visit: https://www.regenlab.com