PRP Injections (Platelet rich plasma)-- The Regenerative Therapy !
These injections offer an alternative approach to healing of tendon, ligament and muscle injuries and have been used sucessfully to treat many problems like Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow, Plantar fascitis, Muscular strains, Ankle ligament sprains, jumper's knee, achilles tendinopathy etc.
What is PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma(PRP), as the name suggest, is a component of blood with high concenterations of platelets. These platelets are the wonder cells as they contain huge quantities of growth factors, which start the cascade of healing and acclerated the regenerative processes of the tisues. so in a way injection of PRP at the injury site acts as a tissue graft that kickstarts and acclerates the regeneration process.
Why tendon and ligament injuries are difficult to heal?
Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply. There fore they have low healing potenital and take longer to heal. Infact cartilage do not have any blood supply and therefore have no healing potential. That is why treatment of a torn menisus (which is esssentially a piece of cartilage in the knee ) usually involves removing the torn piece as it would not heal. In ligament and tendon damage, daily stresses with normal activities lead to repeatitive injuries causing chronic pain and slow healing.
How is the injection given?
PRP injection is given in the OPD and involves taking 12-15 mls of the patient's blood sample. The blood sample is spun in a centrifuge machine for 12 mins and highly concentrated plasma with platelets is seperated. This is then injected in the injured tendon/ligament or muscle. Following this injection ice packs are applied to the area and patients are advised to avoid taking antiinflamatory medications for 4 weeks after the injection.
Pain at the the injection site can be easily controlled with in 1-2 days with paracetamol and tramadol.
Are there and side effects and what are the alternatives of PRP injection?
Cortisone injections have been widely used over many years to treat sports injuries, but unlike PRP injections cortisone injections allow only inflamation and pain to settle down and they do not induce healing. Hence in many conditions the pain will recur due to lack of healing. Also, since cortisone is a steriod, repeated injections have potential complications like skin atrophy, hypopigmenetation, weakening and rupture of the muscle where injection is given, infection etc.
How many Injections are needed?
Most of the injuries settle down with 1-3 injections given 6 weeks apart. Repeat injections do not have any side effects as with cortisone injections.
What are the common conditions where PRP injections have been found to be useful?
We have sucessfully used PRP injections in the treatment of varoius sports injuries like Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow, Plantar fascitis, Muscular strains, Ankle ligament sprains, jumper's knee, achilles tendinopathy etc.
PRP injections for bilateral patellar tendinitis