Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment in Portland, OR
During the past two decades, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used in the regeneration and the treatment of injuries.
Many famous athletes — Tiger Woods, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and several others — have received PRP for various problems, such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. These types of conditions have typically been treated with medications, physical therapy, or even surgery. Some athletes have credited PRP with their being able to return more quickly to competition.
Even though PRP has been commonly used, there are plenty of questions that are still not answered about it, and here are some of them:
- What is platelet-rich plasma?
- How does it work?
- What conditions are being treated with PRP?
- Why are most top athletes using PRP?
What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?
Blood is a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small particles (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) Platelets are best known for their blood clotting abilities. At the same time, platelets also contain hundreds of growth factors which are like foremen, which will help the healing process, and increase tissue regeneration.
PRP is plasma with numerous platelets than what is usually found in blood. The higher the concentration of platelets, means the higher the concentration of the growth factors, and that could reach 10 times greater (or richer) than what is found in typical blood samples.
How to prepare PRP?
Blood must first be drawn from a patient, the amount of blood drawn will be determined by your naturalpathic doctor. The platelets are separated from other blood cells, (red and white blood cells), using a centrifuge, which will guarantee the concentration of the platelets.
How Does PRP Work?
Laboratory studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process.
To speed healing, the injury site is treated with the PRP preparation. This can be done in one of two ways:
1) PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. Afterwards, the pain at the area of injection may actually increase for a short period. It might take a few weeks before the patient feels a beneficial effect.
2) PRP may also be used to improve healing after surgery for some injuries. For example, an athlete with a completely torn heel cord may require surgery to repair the tendon. Healing of the torn tendon can possibly be improved by treating the injured area with PRP during surgery. This is done by preparing the PRP in a special way that allows it to actually be stitched into torn tissues.
What Conditions are Treated with PRP? Is It Effective?
Factors that can influence the effectiveness of PRP treatment include:
- The area of the body being treated
- The overall health of the patient
- Whether the injury is acute (such as from a fall) or chronic (an injury developing over time)
Chronic Tendon Injuries
According to the research studies currently reported, PRP is most effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries, especially tennis elbow, a very common injury of the tendons on the outside of the elbow.
The use of PRP for other chronic tendon injuries — such as chronic Achilles tendonitis or inflammation of the patellar tendon at the knee (jumper's knee) is promising.
Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries
Much of the publicity PRP therapy has received has been about the treatment of acute sports injuries, such as ligament and muscle injuries. PRP has been used to treat professional athletes with common sports injuries like pulled hamstring muscles in the thigh and knee sprains.
Achilles tendon, tennis elbow/ lateral epicondylitis
If you are considering treatment with PRP, be sure to check your eligibility with your health insurance carrier. Few insurance plans, including workers' compensation plans, provide even partial reimbursement.
Top athletes who used PRP as a method of joint and injury treatment:
- Brandon Roy, (Portland guard), came back from retirement after a knee injury in 2012, after he was treated by using PRP, and the PRP treatment was done after undergoing 6 unsuccessful knee surgeries.
- Mickael Pitrus
- Maria Sharapova.
The list keeps on going, and the most amazing common thing is that these athletes are still competing and perform at their optimum function.