PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma) & Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP therapy) are noninvasive procedures with tremendous potential for treating injuries, particularly chronic sports injuries and chronic pain.
Because they are non-invasive, both stem cell therapy and PRP therapy are excellent treatment options for patients who may not be candidates for surgery, or who may prefer to try a more conservative, low-risk treatment.
Cutting-Edge Noninvasive Procedures Offer Healing and Pain Relief
During platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, highly concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood are injected in or near the site of the injury. Platelets are essential in healing soft tissue injuries, fractures, and wounds. Platelets normally make up approximately 6% of the blood, however patients receiving PRP therapy receive an injection of their own highly concentrated (as much as 95%) platelets.
A small amount of the patient’s own blood can speed up the healing process and reduce pain caused by conditions like osteoarthritis in the knee, shoulder, hip or spine. It can also treat anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, ankle and ligament sprains, pelvic pain and instability, back and neck injuries, rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow, tendonitis and chronic plantar fasciitis.
Blood platelets, which contain hundreds of proteins called “growth factors,” are very important in healing injuries. In fact, among the body’s first responses to a soft tissue injury is to direct platelet cells to the injured area to help with repairs.
PRP injections use plasma with many more platelets than typically found in blood. The platelet concentration – and, therefore, the concentration of growth factors – can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual. And since the patient’s own blood is used, the risk of transmissible infection is erased.
How PRP and Stem Cell Therapy Work
During PRP therapy, a small amount of the patient’s own blood – about as much as a lab test sample – is drawn, then spun at a high speed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets. The platelets are then carefully and precisely injected into the damaged, painful area of the body. Several injections over several months may be required, and complete healing and pain relief can occur within weeks after just one or two injections, returning patients to normal activities at work and home, according to some studies. Ultrasounds and magnetic resonance images (MRIs) have definitively confirmed healing has occurred in patients after PRP therapy.
During stem cell therapy, which utilizes similar methods as PRP therapy, stem cells are drawn from the patient’s fat tissue or bone marrow, rather than the blood. Stem cell therapy may be used to treat sports injuries and arthritic conditions in which cartilage regeneration is needed.
Treating injuries early, before damage increases and becomes irreversible, can allow patients to avoid surgery, general anesthesia, and the associated risks. Another benefit to these innovative therapies is that they may eliminate the need for hospital stays and sizable medical bills, allow for quicker recovery, and less time out of work.