Platelets are rich in growth factors and aid in repairing and regenerating tissue. The idea behind platelet rich plasma (PRP) is to provide a high concentration of platelets to an injured area to help enhance the healing process. Platelet rich plasma is made by taking a sample of a person’s own blood and then concentrating the platelets in the lab. The concentrated, enriched platelets are then injected (given by a shot) into the person’s injured area.
The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. PRP therapy is a way to enhance healing, reduce pain, stimulate regeneration and reduce inflammation. It is not an option for every patient, and results vary, which makes it tricky to prescribe. Unfortunately, insurance does not typically cover the procedure.
At Sano, we continue to educate patients and utilize regenerative medicine therapies when it’s a viable treatment option. Recent research studies and advancements in medicine have shown promising results from PRP with these 3 key conditions:
- Tennis Elbow (medically named Lateral epicondylitis)
- Mild Osteoarthritis
- Adjunctive use in Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction, Meniscal Repair, Shoulder Arthroscopy
Interest in regenerative medicine has grown over time and more studies are showing promising results in effectively treating some conditions
PRP Injections for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, medically termed Lateral Epicondylitis, is a condition that results in inflammation, degeneration, or even partial tearing of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. This is a painful, overuse condition found in athletes and the general population that require repetitive use of the wrist and arm. PRP is known for its ability to successfully reduce inflammation and has shown to be a promising and safe treatment modality for tennis elbow, with few side effects and favorable outcomes.
PRP Injections for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a progressive, chronic disease characterized by pain, loss of function, and deformity of the affected joints. This degenerative joint disease is often called “wear and tear” arthritis and occurs most frequently in the hips and knees.
Osteoarthritis affects over 32.5million US adults (source: CDC). PRP injections are one of many treatment options for patients managing arthritis pain. A study comparing PRP to corticosteroids in the treatment of moderate knee osteoarthritis showed significant improvement in PRP group vs corticosteroid group after 15 weeks. This study with 1 year follow-up shows that one “PRP injection is safe, it can reduce pain, and it can improve the knee function of patients with mild/moderate knee osteoarthritis.”
PRP Injections are an adjunctive procedure in Surgery
Using the body’s natural cells, tissue, and blood to enhance healing has caught the interest in surgery as well. PRP has shown to be effective as an adjunct to surgery in aiding tissue to heal, such as shoulder arthroscopy, knee meniscal repairs, and ACL reconstructions in the knee.
We know that the effusion, or swelling, inside the knee that occurs after an ACL injury is loaded with great “stuff”, including a high concentration of the body’s mesenchymal stem cells and other precursors. By centrifuging these biologic by-products and using them as an adjunct in surgery, we can jump-start the body’s healing process. In the same way, the PRP injection is used to enhance healing as a treatment for tennis elbow, using PRP within surgery provides growth factors to stimulate regeneration.
Research continues to show that PRP as an adjunct to surgery improves clinical outcomes.
Other uses for PRP injections
Platelet Rich Plasma is used to treat other conditions as well. Achilles pain, patella tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis are among the conditions that may qualify for PRP. Research shows the benefit of using PRP as an adjunct to surgery for other procedures, including rotator cuff repair and patella tendon repair.
PRP: who is a candidate?
Although PRP and regenerative medicine are great medical advancements, they are NOT an option for every condition or every patient. At Sano, we continue to educate patients and utilize regenerative medicine therapies on an individualized basis, when it is a viable treatment option and has a valid chance of favorable outcomes.
Watch a PRP Injection
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is made by taking a sample of a person’s own blood and then concentrating the platelets. The concentrated, enriched platelets are then injected (given by a shot) into the injured area.