“I had PRP, platelet enriched plasma treatments, and basically what that is that that they draw blood from your arm spin it in a centrifuge and spin the plasma into the entries. As you all know, 2008 I brew out my ACL and part of my reconstruction with my LCL, it wasn’t reacting properly, it was a little bit stuck. And so I had the PRP injection into my LCL.”
- Tiger Woods
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
PRP is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets Because PRP is a concentrated source of autologous (from you) platelets recent research as shown that PRP contains and releases growth factors that can stimulate the tissue healing process at an accelerated rate. Treatment with PRP concentrates the number of platelets found in normal blood by 10 times which is significant in terms of the healing process because growth factors are responsible for attracting stem cells that will eventually produce repaired "new" tissue.
PRP vs. Cortisone Injections
There are many remarkable differences when comparing PRP to cortisone injections for inflammatory conditions. Cortisone injections often provide immediate relief which can often be only temporary and repeated cortisone injections can cause weakening of and damage to the tissue. PRP injections may not provide quick pain relief and reduction of inflammation right away because the growth factors in PRP take time to grow new tissue. However, one important factor is that PRP does repair tissue and provide long-term relief over time, something cortisone injections cannot offer.
Can I benefit from PRP injections?
If you are a patient who suffers from any of the indications below you may be a candidate for PRP injection:
-Quadriceps muscle injuries
-Ligament sprains of tears
-Pubic symphysis pain
-Sacroiliac joint pain
Hamstring tendonitis or tears, shoulder and arm pain
-Rotator cuff tendonitis, tendonopathy or partial tears acromio-clavicular joint pain or arthritis
-Medial and lateral epicondylitis (golfers & tennis elbow)
Ulnar collateral ligament sprain or tear; lower leg and foot
-Ankle sprains, achilles tendonitis or partial tears
Are there risks with PRP treatments?
There are minimal to no known risks with PRP treatments. However, anytime a needle pierces the skin there is always a risk if infection, bleeding, pain or nerve injury but these risks are very rare. After treatment, patients may experience an increase in inflammation and pain after injection which is a normal response and reaction. PRP injections are not recommended for individuals with bleeding disorders, those taking anti-coagulation medications like Coumadin or those who have cancer, active infections, or are pregnant.
How many treatments will I need?
Most patients need 2-3 treatments if being treated for arthritis or chronic tendinitis. Acute muscle injuries typically need 1-2 treatments. Age also plays a factor because as we age, we have less stem cells which may affect the number of treatments received. Younger patients generally need to be treated less frequently. However, additional treatments may be required based on the severity of the injury, the area of the body being treated and the damage to the tissue. Keep in mind, there are no limits to the number of treatments that can be given and there have been no reports of risks with multiple treatments.