In recent years, the use of platelet rich plasma injections for the treatment of pain that is thought to originate from tendons, joints, and ligaments has become more promenant. It was first mentioned in the medical literature in 2006, which makes it a relatively new treatment for refractory musculoskeletal injuries. Given this, the research is promising and mounting, but not yet well established. The use of platelet rich plasma injections for pain is utilized from the elite athlete or the elderly person looking to decrease pain and improve function of a tendon, joint, or ligament that may be compromised.
Prior to determining whether someone is a suitable candidate for platelet rich plasma injections, a complete history and physical exam is required to clarify if the pathology that is causing you pain is indeed one that would benefit from the injections. It is best to have done a trial of high-quality rehabilitation as some musculoskeletal pathologies can improve with time and exercises. Once it has been established that you are a good candidate, you would be scheduled for a treatment (some may have the assessment and treatment on the same day)
The treatment process involves collecting a patient's blood, placing the whole blood sample in a centrifuge for a certain amount of time and at a pre-determined speed, which then concentrates the blood platelets (PRP), growth factors, and cytokins. These pro-healing substances are concentrated to a supra-physiologic done to modulate inflammation and promote healing. Of note, during the processing of your blood we would remove the red blood cells and sometimes try to modify your white blood cells as these can be quite aggravating to the injected tissue or joint. There is still much debate in the literatures and shifting as to the ideal concentration of platelets. When it comes time to inject the PRP back into your of injury, the procedure is completed using ultrasound-guidance to ensure safety, accuracy, and effectiveness. When injected, growth factors contained in the PRP initiates the body's natural healing process. Stimulation of your own healing response can result in improvements in recovery time and improved function.