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What is PRP? (Platelet-Rich Plasma)

Platelet-rich plasma therapy, sometimes called PRP therapy or autologous conditioned plasma (ACP) therapy, attempts to take advantage of the blood's natural healing properties to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, or even bone.

 

Platelet-rich plasma is derived from a sample of the patient's own blood. The therapeutic injections contain plasma with a higher concentration of platelets than is found in normal blood.

What is plasma? Plasma refers to the liquid component of blood; it is the medium for red and white blood cells and other material traveling in the blood stream. Plasma is mostly water but also includes proteins, nutrients, glucose, and antibodies, among other components.

 

What are platelets? Like red and white blood cells, platelets are a normal component of blood. Platelets alone do not have any restorative or healing properties; rather, they secrete substances called growth factors and other proteins that regulate cell division, stimulate tissue regeneration, and promote healing. Platelets also help the blood to clot; a person with defective platelets or too few platelets will bleed excessively from a cut.

As an ever growing standard practice, a growing number of people are turning to PRP injections to treat an expanding list of orthopaedic conditions, including osteoarthritis. Growth factors in the procedure allows osteoarthritic condition to regenerate through a series of injections into the joint.

Etiology of Tendinopathy

 

Tendinitis is an inflammatory condition, but research has shown that most tendon injuries do not exhibit inflammation. Rather, the primary problem appears to be a breakdown of the structural composition (e.g. the amount of essential collagen a tendon contains), strength, and stability. In some cases this degeneration results in chronic pain, disability, or tendon tears. Medical professionals describe this tendon degeneration as Tendinosis or Tendinopathy.

When treating osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma, our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon injects PRP directly into the affected joint. The goal is to:

  • Reduce pain

  • Improve joint function

  • Possibly slow, halt, or even repair damage to cartilage

This process applies for Tendinosis, Ligament & Muscle injuries.  In some cases ultrasound guided PRP injections are required for accurate treatment to the injured site.

 

Pre-Injection Precautions

Our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon recommend patients adhere to the following pre-injection guidelines:

  • Avoid corticosteroid medications for 2 to 3 weeks prior to the procedure

  • Stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or arthritis medications such as Celebrex, a week prior to the procedure

  • Do not take anticoagulation medication for 5 days before the procedure

  • Drink plenty of fluids the day before the procedure

  • Some patients may require anti-anxiety medication immediately before the procedure

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