PRP stimulates the body’s natural healing process
PRP has been used since approximately 1987 to help promote healing in dental, orthopedic, and plastic surgery procedures. Over the last decade, it has been recognized for its potential in treating both chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries involving tendons, ligaments, joints, and muscles.
For a PRP treatment, the plasma and platelets need to be isolated from the other components of a patient’s blood. To do this, a blood sample is drawn from the patient and then placed in a device called a centrifuge.
The centrifuge spins rapidly to separate the components of the blood, allowing the clinician to isolate a solution containing plasma and a concentrated amount of the patient’s platelets.
This mixture can then be injected into the target area, where it stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
Because these injections use components of the individual’s own blood, there is no concern about adverse reactions to a foreign substance, such as an allergic reaction.
What conditions can PRP treat?
A variety of conditions can be treated with PRP injections; however, current studies show that PRP is most effective in treating osteoarthritis of various joints and chronic tendon injuries affecting the ankle, knee, and elbow.
Injections can also facilitate healing for injured muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs.
What are the potential benefits and risks?
While PRP has been used for many musculoskeletal disorders, carefully controlled studies are not currently available for the majority of musculoskeletal conditions.
Injection of PRP into degenerated or partially torn tendons has been shown to be effective in the majority of patients; this includes the Achilles tendon, elbow tendons, rotator cuff, and hamstring tendons.
PRP may also be beneficial in the treatment of muscle strain injuries; however, it is important to note that these results may not translate directly to the successful treatment of other tendons or conditions.
As such, how effective PRP will be in treating a particular condition is not known. Many studies support the use of PRP treatments in osteoarthritis but controlled studies with a low risk of bias are still needed to confirm its efficacy.
Overall, if your physician feels that PRP is a reasonable alternative compared with the alternatives, such as cortisone injection, surgery, or oral medications combined with physical therapy, and that the potential benefits appear to outweigh the risks, PRP may be recommended.
Because PRP is derived from autologous cells (a patient’s own cells), there is no risk of an allergic or immune response to the treatment.
Side effects or complications
Side effects or complications of a PRP treatment are extremely rare; these risks include a very small chance of local infection (at the site of the injection) and temporary pain and inflammation in the treatment area.
There is a possibility of mild discomfort or pain during the injection procedure; to alleviate this discomfort, a local anesthetic will be used at the site of the injection, which will numb the skin prior to the PRP treatment.
Your physician may prescribe pain medication to be taken if you experience significant discomfort following the procedure; however, it is advised that you STOP taking any NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medications, such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Naproxen, Indomethacin, Diclofenac, Ketorolac, or acetaminophen-containing medications (like Tylenol), as well as aspirin seven days prior to your procedure and do not take them again for seven days after your procedure.
This is because these medications alter platelet behavior, which may render the PRP injection ineffective.
Research suggests that selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as celecoxib (also known as Celebrex) may be safe to use before and after the PRP injection.
What do we treat at Wilderman Medical Clinic?
At the Wilderman Medical Clinic, located in Thornhill, Ontario, we have been performing PRP treatments for over a decade.
Every treatment is performed using ultrasound guidance to maximize safety and precision. Two PRP treatment options are available:
Standard Level PRP
Standard Level PRP may require a minimum of three treatments (likely three separate appointments) for best results. This type of injection offers a base level of PRP concentration. Standard Level PRP injections do not have as high a level of concentration of PRP as High-End PRP injections.
High-End PRP injections have a higher concentration of PRP and most patients require fewer injections to reach the same results as with Standard Level PRP. Usually, a patient needs only one, sometimes two injections of High-End PRP versus three injections of Standard Level PRP to experience a similar amount of pain relief.
What do we treat?
We offer PRP treatments for a range of acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, including:
Soft tissue injuries and conditions of the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints
A recent study, published in July 2021, noted that patients with acute and chronic pain from soft tissue injuries reported a significant decrease in their pain scores after treatment with PRP injections without using additional pain management medications.
The study authors noted that “increased platelet concentration is believed to escalate the total growth factors released, which enhance healing and the regeneration process” (Irianto et al. 2021).
At WMC, our soft tissue PRP treatments include the following conditions:
- Trochanteric bursitis
- Bursitis of the knee
- Ischial tuberosity bursitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Bicipital tendonitis
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Rotator cuff syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Knee ligament tendonitis and tears
- Calcaneal spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
- Meniscal tears
- Baker’s cysts
- Medial and lateral epicondylitis
PRP treatments for osteoarthritis are growing in popularity as a growing body of research supports their efficacy.
An article published in 2019 in the journal of Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease reviewed the results of current studies on PRP use for osteoarthritis.
The authors concluded that “results from randomized clinical trials seem to favor PRP used over other IA treatments such as HA injections, to improve pain scales in the short and medium term (6-12 months)” (Gato-Calvo et al. 2019).
At WMC, the following osteoarthritis conditions are most commonly treated:
- Osteoarthritis of the knee
- Osteoarthritis of the hip
- Osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine
- Other osteoarthritis conditions can also be treated.