Platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP, is a nonoperative treatment option that relieves muscle and joint pain by relying on the body’s natural healing capabilities. This innovative treatment technique shows promising potential in treating conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, and ligament sprains and tears. PRP can potentially provide patients with a long-lasting and permanent solution when other conservative management has failed.
Through our Sports Medicine Center at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our fellowship-trained family and sports medicine physicians, Dominic Femiano, M.D., and Tracy Hamblin, M.D., specialize in offering these non-surgical treatment methods. From our Westside Clinic, Dr. Femiano and Dr. Hamblin successfully use PRP and stem cell therapies to treat a wide range of sports-related problems.
What is PRP?
PRP therapy injections contain biological components derived from the body’s own tissue. Blood is mainly comprised of liquid, or plasma, with a lesser amount of small solids (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). Platelets are primarily responsible for blood clotting but also contain hundreds of proteins known collectively as growth factors, which aid in the tissue-healing process. A PRP injection has a platelet concentration of 5 to 10 times greater than usual.
How does PRP work?
The entire process takes less than one hour and begins with a small blood draw, similar to a lab procedure. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge and separated into the various components, separating out the platelets. The platelets are then reinjected directly at the site of injury into the inflamed tissue. There may be an increase in discomfort for 1 – 2 weeks following the procedure, with pain generally improving after several weeks. There is no anesthesia or hospital stay, and generally, patients can return to work or their usual activities immediately following the procedure. Additionally, because the platelets are derived from your own blood, it is safe, with minimal risk of adverse reactions or complications.
What conditions are being treated with PRP?
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Hamstring and hip strains
- Jumper’s knee
- Plantar fasciitis
- Osteoarthritis (knee, hip, and shoulder)
How effective is PRP therapy?
The effectiveness of PRP injection therapy is dependent upon several factors including (1) the area of the body to be treated, (2) the overall health of the patient, and (3) whether the injury is acute or chronic. Current research results indicate that the greatest improvements are seen in patients who have chronic issues and have previously failed or experienced minimal success with rest, oral anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, bracing, and physical therapy.
Before you can be considered a candidate for PRP, you must complete a physical exam and diagnostic evaluation with your sports medicine provider. Once you and your provider have thoroughly discussed your treatment options and decided on PRP, you will be asked to stop taking any oral anti-inflammatory medication one week prior to the procedure.
When can I expect to feel better?
In general, patients report that they experience initial improvements within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses at one, three, and six months. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy. If you do not feel any improvement at your follow-up visit, additional injections may be necessary. It is important that you work closely with your physician for follow-up care and activity prescriptions following your injection procedure.
Why choose the Sports Medicine Center at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates?
Choosing the right doctor is important, and there are many different factors you should consider, including their level of professional training and expertise.
At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our sports medicine physicians have had additional training in a specific area of the body or medical specialty. This additional training is referred to as fellowship training. Following their medical residencies, our providers have undergone fellowship training focusing their education specifically on the advanced knowledge and skills needed to treat specific areas of the body or injuries and conditions relating to a specific medical specialty, such as sports medicine. At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, you are in excellent hands because our sports medicine doctors are fellowship-trained and have the advanced knowledge and skills to treat your injury or condition individually to meet your needs.
To consult with our Olympia Orthopaedic Associates specialists about a stem cell injection or PRP injection, please request an appointment online or call (360) 709-6230. At our Sports Medicine Center, we offer consultations with a sports medicine doctor Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Prior to your visit, we will ask you to fill out a form to help us better understand your condition and pain, as well as ask for other information, such as your insurance provider.
This information, along with any current diagnostic imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) you may have from a previous doctor’s visit, will be examined by your doctor to help diagnose and develop a treatment plan for you.
You can learn more about the conditions we treat through our patient education resources. If your injury or condition requires surgical intervention, our fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons, Bradley C. Christ, M.D., Richard J. Lamour, M.D., and R. Trent McKay, M.D., can provide you with the best treatment options to meet your individual needs.