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Understanding Platelet Rich Plasma injection

Platelet Rich Plasma injection (PPR) is a new non-surgical procedure used for the treatment of various musculoskeletal injuries. This medical technology has been found to be effective for the treatment of various sports injuries such as chronic tendon injury and sprained knees. But PRP injection is nothing new. In fact, it has been used in surgeries since the late 80’s to promote cell regeneration. Today, it is becoming popular that even professional athletes use it to go back to playing faster. Tiger Woods, and Rafael Nadal have been reported to have used PRP injection.

How do PRP injection works?          

To understand PRP injection, you must first understand the basic about blood. Blood is composed of liquid known as plasma, and some tiny solid substances known as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets aka thrombocytes. Among the blood components, platelets are known as the one responsible for blood clotting.

The doctor will extract and separate your blood samples in a centrifuge to separate the blood components. After centrifuging the patient’s blood, the Doctor or the technician will prepare the solution in a vial by removing it from the centrifuge. RBC will consist 45% of the blood and will be seen at the bottom of the vial. The platelets and WBC are formed in the middle layer and this will consist only about 1% of the blood sample. 55% of the blood is plasma, which will be on the top layer of the vial.

The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the damaged muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. This procedure, including preparation, may take an hour or so. PRP stimulates tenocytes to multiply quickly and produce collagen, which is responsible for the repair of the damage tissues. Other growth factors that the platelets secrete stimulates blood flow, causing the cartilage to become firmer and resilient.

If the patient needs a series of injections, the doctor may recommend a single blood draw and use the fresh concentrated platelet on the first PRP injection and save the remaining PRP by freezing it for future scheduled visits. This, however, may affect its usefulness and so, some doctors also suggest a separate blood draw on each PRP injection.

Experienced physician should be the one performing the PRP injections. To avoid any complications that may arise, PRP injection is done using imaging technology like ultrasound.

What is PRP injection for?

PRP injection is used for the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Sprains of the ligaments
  • Ankle sprains
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Arthritis
  • Rotator cuff
  • Quadriceps
  • Achilles tendon
  • Tennis elbow
  • Hamstring

PRP injection is also used in dental and oral surgery since the 1990’s.

Pre injection guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid corticosteroid for 2 to 3 weeks before the injection
  • Do not take non-steroidal and inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) a week before the PRP injection
  • Don’t take anticoagulants 5 days before the injection
  • These days, PRP injection is widely used to decrease the time of healing, decrease the risk of for surgery and decrease the development of a more serious illness. MRI and ultrasound can show the definitive tissue repair after undergoing this PRP therapy