Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

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What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an emerging treatment in a new health sector known as Orthobiologics. By stimulating the body’s own natural healing, PRP aides in the reparative process of injured or damaged tissue and is also anti-inflammatory.

The components of blood are plasma, red cells, white cells and platelets. Platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood; however platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are vital to the healing process.

PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors can be 5 to 10 times greater than  in whole blood.

To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from the patient. Using a centrifuge and specially-prepared test tube, platelets are separated from other blood cells and concentrated. The PRP is then injected into the joint. The process takes about 15 minutes

What is a Platelet?

There are three types of blood cells: 

  • Red Blood Cells
  • White Blood Cells
  • Platelets

In addition to helping the body stop bleeding through the formation of clots, platelets release growth factors that aid in the reparative process of injured or damaged tissue and are anti-inflammatory. Recent studies show that PRP is more effective than hyaluronic acid for the treatment of knee arthritis.

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Osteoarthritis and PRP Therapy

Osteoarthritis(OA) is the degeneration or breakdown of cartilage on the surface of bone in the joint. This cartilage serves as a shock absorber. Osteoarthritis can be caused by trauma, increased impact activity, overuse, genetic predisposition, obesity and is more common in women and the elderly. When the cartilage degenerates, this can cause pain, stiffness, swelling with increased activity, bone spurs and grinding or cracking with joint motion. PRP has been shown to stimulate new cartilage formation and activate mesenchymal stem cells.(1)

(1)PRP has also been shown to reduce pain in osteoarthritis by acting as an anti-inflammatory and modifying the OA disease process.(2)

(1)Kabiri, A., Esfandiari, E., Esmaeili, A., Hashemibeni, B., Pourazar, A., and Mardani, M. Platelet-rich plasma application in chondrogenesis. Adv Biomed Res20143138–142

(2)Sundman, E.A., Cole, B.J., Karas, V. et al. The anti-inflammatory and matrix restorative mechanisms of platelet-rich plasma in osteoarthritis. Am J Sports Med20144235–41

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Recent Studies

Current Clinical Recommendations for Use of Platelet-Rich Plasma

Abundant high-quality evidence supports the use of LR-PRP injection for lateral epicondylitis and LP-PRP for osteoarthritis of the knee…


Hyaluronic Acid versus Platelet-Rich Plasma

Double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Clinical Outcomes and Intra-Articular Biology for Treatment of Knee Arthritis.
 

PRP is more effective that steroid injection for tennis elbow

Platelet-Rich Plasma Compared With Other Common Injection Therapies in the Treatment of Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis.


PRP for tennis elbow reduces the need for surgery

Platelet rich plasma injections for lateral epicondylitis of the elbow reduce the need for surgical intervention.


PRP more effective for pain relief in tennis elbow than steroid

A comparative study to evaluate the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma and triamcinolone to treat tennis elbow.


PRP indicated for chronic tendonitis, not rotator cuff or ACL tear

Biological Treatments for Tendon and Ligament Abnormalities: A Critical Analysis Review.


PRP effective for treatment of tennis elbow after failure to respond to steroid injection

The effect of platelet-rich plasma injection on lateral epicondylitis following failed conservative management