Platelet Rich Plasma Injection: PRP Therapy in Houston TX
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy was first reported in 1970s as promising treatment for healing injured ligaments, muscles, and joints. Two decades later, it was extensively used in skin grafting, dental, and cosmetic surgeries. I
n 2000s, orthopedists start using PRP treatment to boost fracture healing and ensure successful bone grafting. The innovative therapy caught steam in 2008 when Hines Ward credited PRP for his match-winning performance at Pittsburgh Steelers at Super Bowl. This paved the way for PRP to be widely used by sports persons and others alike to heal injured and degenerative muscle, joint, and ligaments and get rid of painful musculoskeletal conditions.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet rich plasma refers to a concentration of blood and lymph that is rich in platelets or suspended blood cells. Fragments of cytoplasm, which controls cell development, platelets are derived from the bone marrow.
Various granules in these platelets are known to be chemotactic, a tendency to move toward the site of tissue trauma, encourage deposition of extracellular matrix, and fix inflammatory cells. This character leads to various platelet-derived growth factors, including vascular endothelial growth, epidermal growth, and fibroblast growth, which are known to facilitate healing and repairing of injured or damaged tissues.
PRP is influential in enticing stem cells in the body to regenerate damages tissues. Stem cells can easily distinguish themselves into cartilage, tendon, or ligament cells and repair injured ones. Many tend to call the therapy stem cell treatment primarily due to this feature.
What Is the Action Mechanism of PRP Therapy?
The PRP therapy works on the theory that large quantities of platelets, when inserted into the damaged tissues, promote the repairing process thanks to its overwhelming growth factors. As a result the injury is healed fast eliminating chronic pain on permanent basis.
Platelet rich plasma is collected from a patient’s own body and plasma is segregated from discoid cells, proteins, hormones, and minerals in the blood. Straw-colored liquid plasma has “a platelet count higher than normal blood” almost four-time more. Higher number of platelets triggers greater concentrations of growth factors, which in turn multiplies cells quickly and accelerate tissue formation in the damaged site.
What Conditions Are Treated Through Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet rich plasma injections are beneficial for ending pain from medical conditions, such as
- Chronic hip, knee, and shoulder pain attributed to degeneration of ligaments or joints
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Knee and joint pain following soft tissue injury or osteoarthritis
- Rotator cuff disorder
- Tendonitis or pain in hand, elbow, feet, ankle, and shoulder tendons, which connects muscles to bones, due to inflammation or degeneration.
- Jumper’s Knee known as patellar tendonitis in medical annals
- Patelofemoral pain syndrome
- Chondromalacia or softening of the cartilage
- Tearing of knee’s fibro-cartilage strips
- Bursitis or inflammation of the soft tissue sac bordering musculoskeletal areas
- Spinal facet joint arthritis
- Degenerative disc problem
- Meniscal, ligament and muscle tears
- Inflammatory osteoarthritis
- Pain due to disorder in bone attachments
- Ruffled or hardened cartilage
How Is Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Procedure Performed?
Platelet rich plasma is obtained from the person’s arm as a simple blood draw. About 30-60 cc’s of blood is taken out from the patient and preserved in a centrifuge. Blood fractionation (a spinning technique) is resorted to create a three-layered blood formulation. While the plasma comes up, white blood cells and free platelets form the middle layer. Red blood cells sit at the bottom. The top layer is harvested and put into an injection for insertion.
The patient is summoned after four to five days for the therapy. Local anesthetic helps to numb the skin above the pain site. The needle containing PRP is inserted under fluoroscopic guidance and the plasma is injected into the injury site.
Patients are suggested relative rest for four to six weeks and examined for improvement after that. Those with difficult injuries may undergo two or three PRP injection therapies.
Do I Need Any Post-Procedure Care?
The entire PRP procedure is over in an hour and patients are discharged. No special follow-up care is required unless complications surface. Avoid weights for two to three days, if ankles or joints are treated with the therapy. Keep your shoulders or elbows in a sling for two-three days and maintain a comfortable position, if these organs are treated with PRP injections.
Avoid walking without boots, if the PRP therapy is meant to treat ankle or tendon-related injury. For those administered the PRP therapy for knee osteoarthritis, rest up to 24 hours is a must. In conditions, such as patellar tendon, doctors advise use of knee immobilizers for 24 to 48 hours.
What Are The Benefits of PRP Therapy Over Conventional Treatment?
- No invasive procedures
- Outpatient treatment
- Natural healing and regeneration process
- Permanent pain management
Is There Any Side Effects of PRP Therapy?
No major risk is associated with platelet rich plasma injections. At best, patients experience allergic reaction from anesthetic medication used to numb the skin. Bleeding and injection-site inflammations are likely to occur, but such risks are very low.
Some patients feel soreness, aching, and initial pain for the first two to three days. But it subsides quickly. This is typically due to the inflammation sparked up by the PRP therapy procedure for the first 48 hours.
How Well Does Platelet Rich Plasma Work? What Are The Benefits of Platelet Rich Plasma?
Opposed to pain masking procedures, PRP therapy is a permanent pain relief solution. The National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball, the National Football League (NFL), and the World Anti-Doping Agency have removed the therapy from their doping list recognizing its medical potential for injured sports persons. The treatment offers more gradual and prolonged improvement in pain relief compared to steroid treatments. Focused on healing power of the body, it is more a natural process. (Sampson et al 2008).
- A knee study reported by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found impressive results in patients treated with arthritis, tendinitis, and injured ligaments. Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery discovered that one PRP injection provided significant pain relief within 12 months while cartilage degradation was arrested in a third of patients.
- Researchers from South Florida had found that PRP treatment provides immense pain relief for those suffering from tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
- According a 2006 Stanford University report, PRP therapy effects a 93% decrease in chronic tendon pain within two years. (The American Journal of Sports Medicine)
- In 2012, researchers claimed that the method is highly beneficial to treat epicondylitis and tendon-related musculoskeletal pain. It highlighted 66 pain relief compared to just 17% from corticosteroid injections. (Rakel,Integrative Medicine)
- The Expert Opinion in Biological Therapies reported s study in 2012 that highlighted benefit of PRP therapy for regeneration of cartilages damaged due to osteoarthritis.
Mishra, A., & Pavelko, T. (2006). Treatment of Chronic Elbow Tendinosis with Buffered Platelet-Rich Plasma. Am J Sports Med , 1774-1778.
Rabago, D., & Zgierska, A. (2012). Epicondylitis. Retrieved from MD Consult. Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 3rd ed.
Sampson, S., Gerhardt, M., & Mandelbaum, B. (2008). Platelet rich plasma injection grafts for musculoskeletal injuries: a review. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med , 165-174.
Andia I, Sanchez M, Maffulli N. “joint pathology and platelet-rich plasma therapies”. Expert Opinion in Biological Therapies. 2012;12(1): 7–22.
“Why the Platelets were Discovered”, British Journal of Haematology, 12 Mar 2008, Volume 13 Issue s1, Pages 618 – 637
Gawaz M, Vogel S (October 2013). “Platelets in tissue repair: control of apoptosis and interactions with regenerative cells”. Blood 122 (15): 2550–4. doi:10.1182/blood-2013-05-468694. PMID 23963043.