Understanding Platelet Rich Plasma Injections

PRP prior to the last spin in the centrifuge.

PRP prior to the last spin in the centrifuge.

PRP injections have become super popular, particularly with elite athletes. It sounds perfect for injuries like patellofemoral pain, an extremely common pseudo-arthritis of the knee in runners, or IT band syndrome, another kind of common runner’s knee a very large potential market, in other words.

Platelet activation plays a key role in the body's natural healing process. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient's own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.

PRP injections are prepared by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of the patient’s own blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. The activated platelets are then injected directly into the injured or diseased body tissue, releasing growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells.

  • PRP therapy is like the kickoff in a football game. It starts the healing cascade to the local tissue. Nothing in the body heals without inflammation.

  • PRP treatment re-introduces your own concentrated blood platelets into areas of chronic joint and spine deterioration.

  • Your blood platelets contain growth and healing factors. When concentrated through simple centrifuging, your blood plasma becomes “rich” in healing factors, thus the name Platelet RICH plasma. Platelets play a central role in blood clotting and wound/injury healing.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that PRP helps bone, muscle, and tendon cells proliferate no matter the cell concentration level. This proliferation leads to the healing of damaged tissue and curing of chronic pain and injury.

Platelet-rich plasma is an orthobiologic that continues to gain popularity as an adjuvant treatment for musculoskeletal injuries. The relative ease of preparation, applicability in the clinical setting, favorable safety profile and possible beneficial outcome make PRP a promising therapeutic approach for future regenerative treatments.