Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is gaining recognition and popularity as an evidence-based application for orthopedics. It may be used for a host of orthopedic diseases and also as a therapy in conjunction with orthopedic surgery or reconstruction procedures.

You may have heard of several celebrity athletes — such as golfer Tiger Woods — utilizing PRP to get back in the game sooner. Pittsburg Steeler, Hines Wards, used PRP treatments to heal a knee injury and play in the 2009 Super Bowl win for the Steelers.

PRP uses your own platelets — which are rich in several growth factors — to promote healing and repair of soft tissue orthopedic injuries and chronic conditions. It’s not just for the elite athlete, anymore. Weekend warriors and regular folks with degenerative arthritis of the knees or back are seeing improvements from this treatment.

This technique is performed by taking a specimen of the patient’s blood and spinning it down to separate the platelets. The specimen is then injected, along with the patient’s plasma I,nto the affected joint, muscle or soft tissue. It has been gaining promise for its orthopedic applications in healing knees, shoulders, back patients and multiple soft tissue injuries.

These treatments have shown promising effects in the treatment of multiple injuries, and are not just reserved for elite athletes but for those suffering with chronic conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, which affects millions of Americans. PRP has other compelling usage for patients who suffer from the following conditions:

  • Spinal fusion surgery to promote healing.
  • Tendon injuries/tendonitis
  • Acute and Chronic soft tissue injuries such as meniscal tears and surgical repairs of the meniscus.
  • Muscle strains
  • Rotator Cuff tears
  • Epicondylitis or the proverbial “tennis elbow.”
  • Achilles Tendon tear and repairs
  • Quicker healing after ACL surgery

Recent research shows that PRP may offer you relief by promoting faster healing of soft tissue injuries.

Prior to this there was not a definitive treatment other than rest and waiting for healing to take place after an injury. With PRP we can now affect the rate of healing!

In fact, research demonstrates that sufferers of chronic knee osteoarthritis, who were not candidates for surgical joint replacement, such as a Total Knee Arthroplasty, showed improvements in pain and functional status in placebo controlled double-blinded studies.

In this type of study, neither the patient nor the physician is aware if they are receiving a placebo or an injection of PRP. The patients were all evaluated on pain scales, and those that received treatment with PRP had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms as compared to their counterparts with knee osteoarthritis in the placebo group

Platelet Rich Plasma may be used as a primary series for the above conditions or an added treatment at the time of surgical repair or surgical reconstruction, such as that of the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and back surgery such as spinal fusion to promote healing.

If you suffer with one of the above treatments ask your orthopedic surgeon for information to see if you may benefit from PRP treatments. A comprehensive evaluation by your Finger Lakes Orthopedics Surgeon will determine if you may benefit from this treatment regimen.

Citations:
1. Moraes VY, Lenza M et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma Applications in Orthopedics. Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2013 Dec;12 CD 10071
2. Hsu WK, Mishra A, Rodeo SR et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma in the orthopedic application: evidence-based recommendations for treatment. Journal American Orthopedic Surgery 2013 Dec; 21 ( 12) 739-748
3. Sandeep Patel MS, Mandeep Dhillon, MS, FAMS, Samar Aggarwal et al. American Journal of Sports Medicine. Feb 2013 Vol 41 (2) 356-364.