Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a newer modality of treatment for the management of many orthopedic conditions. Red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets are the major components of blood. Platelets are small discoid blood cells with granules containing clotting and growth factors which are released during the healing process. On activation, the platelets accelerate the inflammatory cascade as well as healing by the release of the granules containing growth factors. Platelets have an average lifespan of 7–10 days.
A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets whereas platelet rich plasma (PRP) contains a much higher concentration of platelets which may increase the healing potential of injured tissue.
Your doctor will first draw 10 ml of blood from the large vein in your arm. The blood will be centrifuged, or spun, to separate the platelets from other blood components. The entire process takes about 10 minutes. The platelet rich portion of the blood is then extracted.
The injured part of the body is anesthetized with a local anesthetic and PRP is injected into the affected area.
Following the procedure, you can resume your daily routine, but avoid strenuous activities such as heavy exercise or lifting. You may experience some pain during the injection which may last for a couple of days. Cold compresses and pain medication may be prescribed for pain relief. Anti-inflammatory medications are to be avoided for up to 48 hours after the injection, as they can affect the platelet function.