PRP or Platelet-rich plasma is a substance used to help promote healing within the body. It is used through an injection into a specific area to aid with healing.
Plasma comes from the blood and provides specific factors or proteins that can help your blood to clot. PRP is created by isolating the plasma from the blood and it is used in a concentrated form.
What can you use PRP Injections for?
Many types of injuries are good candidates for PRP injections. Some of the most common things PRP can be used for include:
- Tendon injuries – Since tendons are a thick and tough band of tissue, they can be slow to heal. With platelet-rich plasma injections, chronic tendon problems, such as tennis elbow or patellar tendon pain can heal faster.
- Osteoarthritis – Doctors have started to use PRP injections to help with osteoarthritis. Injections into the knees can provide a more effective treatment compared to hyaluronic acid injections, according to a study from 2015.
- Acute injuries – Sports injuries ranging from knee sprains to hamstring pulls may heal faster with PRP injections.
- Postsurgical repair – After surgery, such as a rotator cuff tendon surgery, the use of PRP injections can help with recovery.
Many other injuries may heal faster with PRP injections. Make sure to speak to your doctor about your options and about how the procedure will work.
Why does Platelet-rich Plasma Help with Healing?
When a tendon becomes injured, it has a low metabolic rate, which makes it slower to heal. With PRP injections, the power of the blood inside your body can be harnessed to help heal the injury faster.
Since it will be your own blood being used to create the injection, the chance of an inflammatory reaction or immune response is very low. PRP injections might lead to faster recovery, less pain, the ability to skip surgery, and no scar tissue.
Potential Side Effects of PRP
Even though the chance of a reaction might be low, since it will be your blood used to create the injection, there are still some potential side effects for platelet-rich plasma injections. Some of the possible side effects include:
- Tissue damage
- Nerve injuries
- Pain at the injection site
Compared to a cortisone or hyaluronic acid injection, the risks and side effects are much lower. Of course, it is a good idea to discuss all the risks with your doctor before finalizing your treatment.
PRP Injection Recovery Time
After an injury, the recovery time may vary, even with PRP injections. It depends on the injury and the severity of the injury. Your doctor will likely recommend resting the affected area due to the injury.
For most patients, after PRP injections, daily activities can be resumed based on the injury suffered. It may take several weeks or months to notice a difference after PRP injections since they are designed to promote growth and healing.
If you have suffered an injury and you’re curious about the different treatment options, speak with your doctor about PRP injections. Depending on your injury, it could be a useful choice for faster healing or the prevention of surgery.