Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): Helping Solve Joint Pain
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is an innovative treatment that stimulates the body’s natural healing process and uses the patient’s own cells to promote accelerated healing of certain musculoskeletal conditions, sporting injuries and arthritic joints. It works by delivering powerful growth factors that stimulate and improve blood supply to the injured area and the nutrients needed for cells to regenerate the damaged tissue.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is now considered a viable alternative to knee replacement in patients with osteoarthritis. Ideal patients are those who have failed to see an improvement with traditional treatments such as NSAIDs and physiotherapy. Along with weight loss and exercise to strengthen the muscles and joint, most patients can expect significant relief in pain and stiffness of the knee joint and prevent further degeneration of the knee joint. With PRP, knee replacement could be postponed for a number of years or not required at all.
Compared to knee replacement surgery, PRP is:
- Minimal risks or side effects
- Minimal downtime
PRP is a fairly simple process for the patient to experience. PRP is created by using the patient’s own blood. Around 30mls of blood is collected from the patient and placed in a centrifuge where the blood is spun and the different components of the blood are separated. The PRP is extracted and re-injected into the affected joint under ultrasound guidance. Once the platelets are injected into the joint, they activate and release growth factors which enhance the healing response and stimulate local stem cell activation.
After the PRP injection, the healing process starts and in two to three weeks patients will start to feel relief from pain and tenderness and experience increased mobility of the knee joint. Depending on the degree of knee degeneration patients will require one to three treatments, 4 weeks apart and either six-monthly or annual injections to maintain the positive benefits. PRP is also used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions and sporting injuries such as:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Partial rotator cuff tears
- Partial tendon tears
- Partial muscle tears
- Knee tendonitis
- Achilles’ tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hip osteoarthritis