What are Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP Injections?
Human blood is made up of a number of components including red blood cells, white blood cells, serum and platelets. Platelets are very important for clot formation. They stick to each other and form a blood clot. Medical research has found that platelets also contain a number of chemicals and proteins that are involved in wound healing. When platelets are activated, they release these components collectively called "growth factors." When blood cells are separated from blood, the resulting fluid is called plasma. Processing of plasma can concentrate the platelets and their corresponding growth factors. A PRP injection is a concentrated solution of the patient's own platelets that is mixed with a buffer and anticoagulant. This is then injected into the injured tissue to promote healing. In essence, the body's own healing factors are injected back into the injured area.
Is PRP a new procedure?
PRP injections have been used for years in surgical applications and wound care. The use of PRP for musculoskeletal injuries is fairly new and evolving into a promising treatment for both acute and chronic injuries. There are a number of medical studies supporting the use of PRP for tendon and ligament injuries.
How long does the PRP injection procedure take?
Generally, a PRP injection requires an initial visit to see if the patient's injury would benefit from the injection, then a follow up visit for the injection itself. The actual injection process takes about 30 minutes. The majority of the time involves drawing and processing the patient's blood for the injection. There is then a 1 week and 4 week follow up appointment to access for healing and complications. Prolotherapy injections can be done at 3 weeks to enhance the healing response.
What conditions beneﬁt from PRP injections?
PRP injection treatments work best for chronic ligament and tendon sprains/strains that have failed other conservative treatment, including:
Rotator cuﬀ injuries
Shoulder pain and instability
Tennis & golfer’s elbow
Hamstring and hip strains
Knee sprains and instability
Patellofemoral syndrome and patellar tendinosis
Achilles tendinosis & plantar fasciitis
How often are PRP injections given?
After the initial treatment, a follow up visit is scheduled 6-8 weeks later. Some people respond very well to just one treatment. However, typically 1-3 treatments are necessary. The PRP treatments can also be enhanced by prolotherapy in between the PRP injections. To get maximum beneﬁt from the treatment and to help prevent re-injury, a specially-designed home-based rehabilitation and exercise program is incorporated into your treatment.
To schedule a consultation to discuss PRP injections, please contact our office at 408.356.5292. We have multiple locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.