How does plasma rich platelet work?
Platelets are blood cells in our body that help with clotting of the blood, and they also contain various proteins that help in tissue repair, allowing the body to heal. Plasma rich platelet therapy works by concentrating the amount of platelet in a solution and injecting it into the injured site, allowing for accelerated healing.
What is plasma rich platelet therapy used for?
Plasma rich platelet therapy is used for the following conditions:
- Tendon injury
- Ligament injury
- Muscle injury
- Joint injury
- Plantar fasciitis
The results vary from condition to condition but it’s generally more effective for conditions like tennis and golfer’s elbow.
How is plasma rich platelet therapy performed?
Blood is drawn from a vein and is put into a device that spins and separates the contents of the blood out. The portion of the blood that contains platelets in a concentrated form is called ‘plasma rich platelet’. The PRP is then injected into the site of injury using ultrasound guidance or fluoroscopy in order to ensure accurate delivery by the pain specialist. Some sedation may be given to make you more comfortable.
Injection without ultrasound or X-ray guidance can result in inaccurate placement of the PRP, resulting in failure of of therapy. The PRP aids in healing over the course of weeks and on average about 3 PRP injections will be required about 3 weeks apart over the course of 6 months in order to ensure the best results.
Depending on the number of injections to be performed, the procedure is over in about half an hour and you can go home on the same day.
What are the possible risks of plasma rich platelet therapy?
The risks are extremely low as the procedure is minimally invasive with small needles and does not involve an operation or general anaesthesia. The plasma rich platelet is obtained from your own body and thus will not interfere with your own immune system or lead to allergy. However, there might be temporary increase in pain or bruising.
The treatment has been used for a variety of conditions and the evidence for success differs from condition to condition. Although it is very safe, it is expensive and is not always covered by insurance.