McMurray Office (724) 941-0707 | Irwin Office (724) 382-5626 Legacy@legacymedicalcenters.com

PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP) THERAPY

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a revolutionary treatment that relieves pain by promoting long lasting healing of musculoskeletal conditions. Widely used by many professional athletes, PRP therapy is accepted in physiatric, pain, orthopedic, and sports medicine practices in the U.S. and many countries.

What is PRP therapy used for?

This rapidly emerging technique is showing exciting potential with osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, hip and spine, rotator cuff tears, chronic plantar fasciitis, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, pelvic pain and instability, back and neck injuries, tennis elbow, ankle sprains, tendonitis, and ligament sprains. Legacy Medical Centers staff includes expert physicians in the region currently trained in PRP therapy. They can determine if this advanced, non-surgical treatment is right for you.

How does PRP therapy work?

The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells. Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells. PRP therapy’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets. To create PRP therapy, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing signal. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a very low risk of allergic reaction. At Legacy Medical Centers, we always start our PRP treatment with a musculoskeletal ultrasound evaluation (see diagnostic ultrasound). Ultrasound helps us pinpoint the exact location of the pain site, making the treatment much more effective for pain relief and healing. Because ultrasound is performed in real-time, our physicians have the ability to watch on a monitor as the needle is placed precisely in the correct position for the injection. A local anesthetic will be applied to the area followed by PRP injection with ultrasound guidance to ensure that the appropriate target is reached.

How long does PRP therapy take?

The procedure takes approximately one hour, including preparation and actual procedure time. PRP therapy is performed safely at the medical office and relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery. In fact, most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the procedure.

How often is this therapy done?

While responses to treatment vary, most people will require 1-3 sets of injections, usually performed three to five weeks apart. You may, however, gain considerable to complete relief after the first or second injection.

What are the expected results?

Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results with the initial improvement seen within a few weeks and gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for more traditional treatments such as medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy or surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible

What are the potential risks of PRP?

There are very few risks since your own blood’s healing factors are utilized. Although extremely uncommon, the risks include those signs and symptoms associated with any injection, including pain, no relief of symptoms, infection, post-procedure calcification, skin discoloration and allergic reaction to local anesthetic.

Is PRP right for me?

If you have a tendon, ligament or muscular injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring, and alleviates further degeneration of the tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therapy is right for you.

The following are some of the conditions treated with PRP:

  • Arthritis for any joint, including shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, ankle, toes and TMJ joint.
  • Tendonitis or tearing of most tendons, including the rotator cuff, tennis or golfer’s elbow, tendonitis in the wrist and hand, hip tendonitis, patellar and Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis of the foot
  • Muscle tears and trigger points

Additional Resources:

  1. PRP: A Promising Treatment for Athletes, in Blood
  2. Platelet rich plasma injection grafts for musculoskeletal injuries: a review