Every year in the United States, millions of sports injuries occur — about 8.6 million, according to the CDC. While there are many treatment options for these injuries, one treatment option — platelet-rich plasma (or PRP) — has received a lot of positive attention in recent years.
As a leading orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with practices in Sugar Land and Houston, Texas, J. Michael Bennett, MD, PA, uses PRP therapy to treat an array of sports injuries and other injuries that cause chronic or recurrent pain. Here’s how PRP therapy works and how it just might benefit you.
PRP: The basics
PRP is a blood product composed of platelets and plasma. Platelets are special proteins that help in the body’s natural healing processes, while plasma is the liquid part of blood. PRP is plasma that’s been enriched with “extra” platelets — several times more than are naturally found in your blood.
To make PRP, Dr. Bennett takes a sample of your blood, then places it in a special device that separates the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelets are reintroduced to the remaining plasma to make the final product.
Once the PRP is ready, Dr. Bennett injects it at the injury site to speed up natural healing processes. Immediately after your injection, the PRP proteins stimulate new tissue growth and other processes that help your body replace damaged tissue with healthy tissue. The process doesn’t happen overnight — most patients find they notice results within about a month following their injections.
What PRP can treat
PRP is used to treat an array of orthopedic injuries affecting tendons, ligaments, and muscles, including some of the more common ones, like:
- Severe sprains
- Jumper’s knee
- Rotator cuff tears
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendonitis
PRP can also be used in fracture treatment and during and after surgery to give your body a “jumpstart” toward healing and recovery.
In addition to sports injuries and injuries from falls and other accidents, PRP is also used to treat osteoarthritis, a chronic condition caused by wear and tear on joint cartilage. When injected into an arthritic joint, PRP stimulates the production of new cartilage and reduces inflammation inside the joint.
Because PRP is made from your blood, you don’t have to worry about rejection or allergic reactions that can occur with synthetic products. PRP can be combined with other treatments, as well, so you can get truly customized care for your specific concern. Injections can also be repeated as needed for people with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Find out if PRP is right for you
PRP can play a critical role in healing following injury and some types of joint diseases, promoting natural recovery without relying on more invasive procedures. To determine if PRP is a good choice for you, call the office or book an appointment online today.