Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy in Atlanta

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is an emerging technology used in sports and orthopedic medicine. Many professional athletes have had excellent results with PRP, including Tiger Woods, Troy Polamalu, and Hines Ward.

How does PRP therapy work?

Platelets function as a natural reservoir for growth factors, which are essential substances for repair of injured tissues. Growth factors stimulate tissue recover by increasing the production of collagen and improving stem cell proliferation. Additionally, growth factors stimulate blood flow and improve resiliency of cartilage.

What injuries are treated with PRP therapy?

There are many injuries treated with PRP therapy, such as rotator cuff tears, quadriceps, hamstring, and tendon injuries, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, bursitis, facet joint arthritis, patellar tendinitis, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, and major knee ligament damage. PRP therapy is used for any tendon or ligament injury except complete tears.

How is PRP administered?

The procedure begins with approximately 30 milliliters of blood collected from the patient. The blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the whole blood components. The doctor injects the concentrated platelets into the area that is injured using ultrasound guidance for correct placement.

Will I get immediate results from the PRP therapy?

You will have a slight increase in pain in the days immediately following the PRP injection. The pain lessens with each passing day as functional mobility, strength, and endurance increases. After 2-6 weeks, you will notice gradual improvement.

Some patients report ongoing improvement for up to 9 months following the PRP injection. Many studies using ultrasound and MRI imaging show definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, supporting proof that this is a healing technology. When PRP is used, surgical intervention is often avoided.

Is PRP therapy a substitute for surgery?

PRP is not a substitute for surgery, but many chronic conditions respond to this procedure, which allows for a delay in surgery. It is impossible to predict which conditions will respond to PRP therapy. PRP initiates a response that makes a chronic condition appear as a new injury, so the body’s healing response is activated. With PRP therapy combined with appropriate reconditioning, there is a decreased need for surgical intervention.

Do PRP injections work?

Many clinical studies have shown that PRP therapy is effective. In a recent study of 140 patients with elbow pain, participants reported a 60% reduction in pain following PRP injections. In 2013, a randomized clinical trial found that pain scores of participants significantly improved following PRP therapy. In a 2014 study, patients with plantar fasciitis who received PRP therapy continued to experience gradual improvement, and were considerable better at the 12 and 24-month follow-ups.

How effective are PRP injections for arthritis?

A review of studies suggests 80-85% success rate with PRP therapy, although some arthritic joints do not respond as well. Advanced arthritis usually requires a repeat course of therapy in 1-3 years. When compared to hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis in a recent study, PRP patients showed significantly better clinical outcomes. For hip arthritis, PRP therapy was limited, however.

What are the risks and complications associated with PRP therapy?

Treatment with platelet-rich plasma holds much promise. However, there are a few risks associated with PRP therapy. In race incidences, complications include tissue damage, infection, and nerve injury. At this time, only few insurance plans provide full reimbursement for this therapy.