Platelet- Rich Plasma Treatment
What do Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and Hines Ward have in common? They are all professional athletes who have used platelet-rich plasma treatment (PRP) to heal injuries, alleviate pain and get back in the game. In addition to facilitating healing from all types of acute and repetitive motion injuries, such as sprains and strains, PRP treatment is effective for treating conditions associated with chronic pain—including arthritis and even degenerative disc disease.
Platelet-rich plasma treatment is simple. A little bit of the patient’s own blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the red blood cells, plasma and other components. What’s left is a very small amount of concentrated platelets—5–10 times the amount in whole blood—in a little plasma (the clear, liquid part of blood); hence the name platelet-rich plasma treatment, or PRP.
The patient’s own platelet-rich plasma is then placed in a syringe and injected into the affected area, which is numbed beforehand to make the injection more comfortable. A single injection is the norm, but two or more injections, spaced out at least a month apart, may be required. Then you wait.
PRP is not a quick fix. It simply amplifies your body’s natural healing mechanisms, and the regeneration process it initiates can take months. However—usually within a few weeks—remarkable things happen.
Platelet-rich plasma treatment is one of the most innovative and effective tools we have for relieving chronic pain. Because it’s an “autologous” procedure (derived or transferred from the patient’s own body), there’s no danger of an adverse reaction to a foreign substance. It simply harnesses your own platelets for healing and regeneration.
Additionally, PRP works well when combined with other promising regenerative therapies such as autologous adipose (fat)-derived stem cell therapy. Lastly, PRP is convenient. It’s done in a doctor’s office, is quick and minimally invasive, requires no recovery time, and costs a fraction of the price of any surgical procedure.