Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been used for decades in surgical settings - from bone grafting in dentistry to hastening healing times and reducing infection rates in cosmetic surgery. It is only in recent years that this application has come into the chronic pain arena. PRP is being used to treat knee meniscal tears, rotator cuff tears, osteoarthritis, hip joint degeneration, back pain, tendonosis, to name a few.
The story here belongs to platelets. The heroes in the platelets are cytokines. The cytokines release growth factors and stimulate genetic activation directly at the site of injury. Among these growth factors are bone growth factors, cartilage growth factors, ligament growth factors, circulation growth factors and cellular adhesion molecules. Laying these growth factors in the heat of the damaged tissue helps to regenerate degenerated connective tissue.
Procedure. Your blood is drawn and spun down into layers by a centrifuge. The platelet poor plasma is drawn off. What is left is the platelet rich portion. This concentrate is 3-5x higher in platelets than in normal blood. This small concentrate is then injected into the injured area.
The injection technique is the same as in prolotherapy. Just different ingredients. PRP is essentially a ramped up version of prolotherapy. PRP can be initiated within weeks of an acute injury and is administered every 4 weeks. Typically two to three treatments are all that is required.