Platelet-Rich Plasma

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a new treatment used for many common orthopedic conditions, including sports injuries. PRP is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood.

These platelet cells contain growth factors that signal the body to initiate a healing response. By injecting PRP into areas of an injury, the hope is to stimulate and optimize your body's ability to heal.

What Conditions Does PRP Treat?

PRP has been used to help with wound healing, and to stimulate bone formation in spinal fusion surgery. Recently, PRP has been used in outpatient settings for treatment of common overuse conditions including Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff injury, tennis elbow, patellar tendonitis and ligaments.

How is Platelet-Rich Plasma Obtained and Injected?

PRP is obtained from the patient. Blood is withdrawn from a vein in the patient's arm and is placed in a centrifuge to separate the different types of blood cells. The physician extracts the platelet-rich portion of the blood, and injects this into the area of injury, with the help of ultrasound guidance. The entire injection takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets up to 500 percent. Sometimes PRP is given as a series of injections over a span of several weeks.

Learn more about platelet-rich plasma at Gwinnett Medical Center in the Spring 2010 Vim & Vigor.