Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a type of biologic or cellular medicine. PRP is a concentration of growth factors and stem cells from a person’s own blood that can stimulate regeneration and heal musculoskeletal injuries.
The basic science behind PRP involves platelets from one’s own blood that become activated after injection into a tendon or soft tissue.
Platelets used for the procedure are autologous (from one’s own blood) and separated from the remaining blood components by centrifugation in a special chamber. Once harvested, the platelets are injected into diseased tissue under ultrasound guidance to direct the needle to the exact area in question.
PRP is skillfully injected under ultrasound guidance into the injured area on the same day as the harvesting of the blood. The PRP is injected directly into injuries such as meniscus tears, ligament strains, and degenerated joints. Prior to a PRP injection, the diseased tendon is usually fenestrated to increase blood flow to the area, provide channels for the PRP, and to loosen diseased tissue from traction spurs and osteophytes (Ultrasound Guided Tenotomy). Once injected, the platelets become activated and release numerous growth factors into the wound and into the circulation. These growth factors also recruit stem cells and other proteins that will create new, healthy tissue.
PRP is used to treat athletes with common sports injuries. Muscle tears heal very quickly with PPR, while tendons and ligaments and meniscus tears take more time to heal. PRP is effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries around the elbow. PRP heals major joint instabilities, rotator cuff tears, labral tears, meniscus tears, and ACL ruptures, as well as most musculoskeletal pathologies. PRP can also regenerate aging skin and stimulate other tissue growth as a potential alternative to plastic surgery. Non-surgical breast augmentation is a safe and effective application of PRP within regenerative medicine.
Overall success rate of PRP is about 80%. Outcomes are less optimal in in smokers, diabetics and others with compromised microcirculation. PRP provides no instant pain relief, but instead leads to healing of previously unhealthy tissue. Resting for two weeks after the procedure will ensure appropriate healing, and full healing benefit of the PRP is achieved in six to twelve months.