What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Our blood has many components, one of which is platelets. Platelets are the cells that cause our blood to clot. Platelets are critical to healing. These platelets are rich in connective tissue growth and healing proteins called growth factors that stimulate growth and repair.
These bioactive growth factors initiate connective tissue healing, bone, tendon and ligament regeneration and repair, promote the development of new blood vessels, and stimulate the wound healing process. PRP therapy can also strengthen tendons and ligaments up to 40%
Not only does PRP aid in healing, it also reduces the chance of re-injury, and may reduce the risk of a more serious injury, that would require surgery or end in disability.
Our blood is made of red blood cells (90%), white blood cells (6%), and platelets (1%) and plasma. PRP is created in a laboratory where blood plasma is enriched with high concentrations of platelets that contain concentrations of growth factors that can be up to 500% richer than normal.
How is PRP Made?
Dr. Walter Thomas, MD will draw about half an ounce of the patient’s blood, spin it to separate the platelets from the plasma and red blood cells, concentrate the platelets in the plasma and inject PRP at the site of patient’s injury.
Is PRP therapy safe?
Yes, PRP is made from a patient’s own blood, and injected back in the same patient. There is no risk of adverse reaction.
PRP in Orthopedics
PRP therapy has been in use since the 1990s to facilitate bone and soft tissue healing for musculoskeletal conditions. Since 2009, PRP therapy has been in use for treating sports injuries including torn tendons, muscles and ligaments. Many professional and recreational athletes seek PRP therapy to help them quickly return to competition and regular activities. They will decrease or eliminate pain, heal damaged muscles and ligaments, and repair torn tissues.
PRP therapy provides a natural solution that ramps up the body’s natural ability to heal. It doesn’t wear off like a pain injection. Also, studies have shown that cortisone shots can actually weaken tissues, but they do not offer long term healing.
It can be used to treat an injured area, and is frequently used after surgery to speed healing of the surgical wound. In some cases, a patient may be able to avoid surgery by treating the injury with PRP to halt the damage before it worsens. However, when a tendon or ligament is completely torn, surgery may be necessary.
What conditions can benefit from PRP Therapy?
PRP therapy can help individuals find relief from acute and chronic pain due to injuries. The platelets help to rebuild the damaged tissue, and spur the healing process. A majority of injuries and conditions can be successfully treated without surgery.
PRP therapy is especially excellent to treat orthopedic injuries that are difficult to treat such as:
- Chronic Tendon injuries like tennis elbow. These injuries cause scarring and degeneration.
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankle sprains and tendonitis
- Chronic golfer’s elbow
- Inflammation of the tendon in the knee called the patellar tendon
- Hip tendonitis
- Acute muscle tears
- Pulled hamstring and quadriceps muscles
- Knee sprains
- Shin splints
- Acute ligament tears
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder tendonitis and bursitis
- DeQuervain’s tendinitis and ligament tears
- Knee arthritis pain
- Plantar fasciitis
Side effects are minimal. There may be increased soreness, stiffness and swelling from the injection, and some pain which decreases as healing increases.
Improvements will happen gradually over several weeks when strength and endurance improve and mobility and function increase. Dr. Thomas will let you know when you can resume your activities.
Dr. Walter A. Thomas, MD is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon, Fellowship Trained in arthroscopic surgery, who specializes in sports medicine and general orthopedics. He is the official doctor of the U.S. Olympic Water Polo team, and has acted as an associate team physician for the San Diego Padres, San Diego Thunder and the San Diego State Women’s Soccer Club.
For patients in and near Thousand Oaks, California who are in pain due to an injury or arthritis, Dr. Walter Thomas, MD can help. He is a compassionate, kind and caring orthopedic surgeon who will treat you as if you were a member of his family. Dr. Thomas emphasizes injury prevention, and will educate you so you can return to your sport of choice at the highest level of play. His goal is to get you back to your passion, whether sports or chasing after your children.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Thomas and find out how you can get relief today. Call us at 805- 497-0817.