Over the past few years, platelet rich plasma (PRP) has received a lot of attention, partly because Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and other star athletes have used it. PRP has been credited with helping Kobe and various aging sports stars recover from conditions like sprained knees and injured tendons in less time than would be possible with other forms of therapy. If you are unfamiliar with PRP, you may have questions like:
- How does PRP work?
- How is PRP done?
- Are PRP injections better than surgery?
How Does PRP Work?
Athletes and active individuals who endure chronic pain from tendon injuries or osteoarthritis may finally get relief from a safe, non-surgical procedure. PRP utilizes platelets from the patients’ own blood to rebuild a damaged tendon or cartilage. It has been successful in not only relieving the pain, but also in jumpstarting the healing process.
How Is PRP Done?
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is done in an exam room and takes less than an hour. The patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge for 15 minutes to separate out the platelets. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the damaged portion of the tendon or cartilage with the guidance of an ultrasound machine.
Are PRP Better Than Surgery?
Yes, in many cases. While there are many patients for whom surgery may be a better option, there are many others where PRP will provide better and faster results. For example, patients who have excessive scar tissue within a tendon or ligament due to an incompletely healed injury may face reduced joint function. The tendon or ligament may be incompletely healed because there is insufficient blood flowing to the injury site. The growth factors within PRP can help to enhance the body’s own healing process thus making it unnecessary for the patient to have surgery.