Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are one of the most sought out therapies in regenerative medicine. PRP is popular because it is minimally invasive and promotes the body’s natural healing abilities to aid in recovery. PRP injections may also be recommended to help manage the symptoms of orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease.
PRP injections, which are formulated using a patient’s own platelets, are carefully administered to injured or damaged tissues to accelerate healing, relieve pain and regulate inflammation.
What Is a Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection?
To create platelet-rich plasma, an orthopedic surgeon collects a patient’s blood sample and places it into a device called a centrifuge. The centrifuge rapidly spins the sample to separate the platelets from other components of the blood. Once the solution is finished, the activated platelets are injected into a specific area of the body to promote regeneration after an injury or to manage the symptoms of a degenerative condition. An orthopedic surgeon may use fluoroscopy or another type of imaging to help precisely guide the injection to the affected tendon, joint or tissue.
Studies show that PRP injections increase the concentration of growth factors (hormones and bioproteins) in the blood, which is believed to accelerate recovery time and stimulate new growth. This is especially helpful for recovery from sports injuries, degenerative problems, surgical heart procedures, tendon damage, muscle strains and fascia irritation.
What Injuries or Conditions Can Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections Treat?
- Rotator cuff tears or injuries – Whether someone plays a sport or works a physically-demanding job, there is a risk of injuring the rotator cuff (tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder). Studies show that patients with a rotator cuff injury saw a decrease in pain over time after receiving PRP injections.
- Cartilage tears – Injuries like a torn meniscus or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are most common in athletes and active individuals. When the cartilage in the knee is compromised, it can lead to serious pain and stress on the joints. PRP injections can help reduce inflammation, stimulate cartilage growth and restore overall knee function.
- Tennis elbow – Otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is what happens when pain and inflammation occur in the elbow due to repetitive movement of the arm or wrist. These injuries are not solely suffered by people who play tennis, but it can easily occur from playing tennis or spending too much time on a computer. Anti-inflammatory medications and PRP injections can be used to relieve symptoms of tennis elbow.
- Degenerative disc disease and sacroiliac joint pain – Joint and spine conditions are one of the top reasons patients seek out PRP injections. People with disc degeneration may also suffer from chronic back pain. PRP injections target broken down cartilage and tissue to help slow down degeneration and alleviate pain.
- Arthritis – As the body ages, joint cartilage wears down, which can eventually lead to arthritis. Athletes with previous musculoskeletal system injuries are more likely to develop arthritis or osteoarthritis at a much younger age than most people. While there is no cure for arthritis, PRP injections are known to help reduce pain and inflammation.
What Is the Recovery Like After a Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection?
A PRP injection is considered a minimally invasive procedure with low risks and low complication rates. It’s not uncommon for some patients to experience minimal pain during and after the procedure depending on where the injection was administered.
While PRP injections work naturally with the body’s recovery process, they can increase the rate at which an injury heals. Accelerated healing may allow a patient to resume their normal activities much sooner. If a patient receives a PRP injection to treat an injury, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend they take it easy until normal function is restored.
Find Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Atlanta
At AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center, our team of orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can examine your injuries and determine what therapies will aid you on the road to recovery. We practice regenerative therapies, like PRP injections, that can be used to target pain in the knee, shoulder, spine, joints and more.
Schedule an appointment at one of our five locations in Atlanta by giving us a call at (770) 997-0600. Our doctors would be happy to discuss your treatment options.