Sydney Spine & Pain

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Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP)

There has been a wide variety of recent literature about platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) being used to treat several types of common sports injuries, such as skeletal fractures, torn ligaments and tendons, strained muscles, sprained knees and other joints, and other chronic tendon injuries.

This relatively new treatment has been known to promote the regeneration of soft tissue and healing within the body without the risks and extended recovery time often associated with surgery.

Platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) has received international media attention after famous athletes, including Tiger Woods and tennis star Rafael Nadal, received this type of treatment to help alleviate sports-induced injuries. However, platelet rich plasma isn’t just used for professional athletes; anyone can potentially benefit from platelet rich plasma to help treat nagging injuries.

Platelet rich plasma contains five to ten times the usual concentration of platelets and growth factors in normal blood. This enhanced concentration of autologous platelets is achieved by centrifugation, the process of separating light and heavy proteins using centrifugal force.

Research concerning the clinical validity of platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is currently being conducted. However, there have been several recent studies that have produced substantial evidence regarding the positive effects of platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) in conditions such as osteoarthritis, bone regeneration, tendonitis, and degenerative disc disease.

At our pain clinic, platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Hip osteoarthritis
  • Shoulder rotator cuff tear
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spinal arthritis

A series of two to four injections may be required.
 This procedure is performed using ultrasound or x-ray.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection?

    An emerging medical procedure, platelet rich plasma injection is becoming popular not only among elite professional athletes, but also among the general population.

    Platelet rich plasma contains five to ten times the usual concentration of platelets and growth factors in normal blood. This enhanced concentration of autologous platelets is achieved by centrifugation, the process of separating light and heavy proteins using centrifugal force.

  • What is the evidence behind PRP Injection?

    Research concerning the clinical validity of platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is currently being conducted. However, there have been several recent studies that have produced substantial evidence regarding the positive effects of platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) in conditions such as osteoarthritis, bone regeneration, tendonitis and degenerative disc disease

  • How is PRP Injection performed?

    PRP injection uses the patient’s own blood to help heal their injuries. Since it is autologous, meaning it comes from the patient’s own body, there is very low risk for transmissible infection or allergic reaction. Additionally, early research has shown positive results as an effective way to avoid surgery and a lengthy recovery.

    The procedure is fairly simple. A small sample of blood is taken and placed into a machine that creates a centrifuge, separating the platelets from the red blood cells. Once this process is completed, a concentration of ten times the normal amount of platelets is left, leaving super-concentrated platelets rich in healing properties. These concentrated platelets are then injected into the injured area, promoting healing and regeneration of injured tissue.

  • What Conditions can be treated with PRP Injections?

    When the body sustains soft tissue injury, platelets go to the site of injury and begin to regenerate and heal. However, some areas of the body receive poor blood supply, making it difficult for the body to repair any tears or internal scarring. One such example would be tendinitis or rupture of the Achilles tendon or tendonitis of the knee or elbow. Currently, it is thought that because of low blood supply, these areas of the body can never fully heal. With the advent of plasma rich protein injections, this issue may disappear.

    Expanding past what is considered routine sports injuries, platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) is now being used to treat muscle sprains, arthritis, bone fractures, and surgical wounds. However, as the therapy is still in research and has not been proven medically, insurance companies have yet to reimburse the procedure.

    Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection is indicated for the treatment of:

    • knee osteoarthritis
    • Hip osteoarthritis
    • Shoulder rotator cuff tear
    • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)
    • Achilles tendonitis
    • Degenerative disc disease
    • Lumbar spinal arthritis

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