What are PRP Injections?
- They was first developed in 1970s
- PRP is for ‘Platelet-Rich Plasma’ Therapy
- Blood usually contains 6% platelets, whereas PRP has a significantly increased platelet concentration.
- The platelet rich plasma contains several growth factors and healing factors, which are believed to help accelerate the healing process.
Who is it used for?
PRP injections may be used to help treat osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, chronic plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, ACL injuries, and many other musculoskeletal conditions and soft tissue injuries.
What actually happens?….What is the process?
- Blood is taken from the patient and then processed (put into a centrifuge and spun at high speed), in order to separate the different components of the blood. The platelet rich plasma is then easily extracted.
- Later, the PRP is administered by a series of injections into the affected tendon or injury site.
Who performs PRP?
PRP injections can be administered via Sports Doctors, Radiologists, or Orthopaedic surgeons.
What does the research say?
Research on PRP as a treatment option for joint and tendon injuries is still in the relatively early stages. A 2014 Cochrane Review which cited 19 studies concluded the following;
- Very weak evidence exists for a slight benefit of PRP injections for pain relief in the short term (up to three months following injection).
- PRP injections did not make a significant difference for function in the short, medium or long term.
MY TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE
Due to insufficient evidence supporting this treatment, I would not recommend this as first line approach in managing the above conditions. However, for the very small proportion of patients who do not improve with conservative management (physiotherapy and medication), PRP therapy is another option available (albeit expensive) before considering invasive surgery. It is always best to consult your Physiotherapist about what the best options are for your specific condition/injury. If you have an issue that you think might be suitable for PRP injections book in to see one of our Bend + Mend Physio’s in Sydney’s CBD to find out all your options.