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A quickly emerging medical breakthrough, platelet rich protein injections are becoming popular not only among elite professional athletes, but among the general population.

According to an article in the New York Times, sports medicine experts have high hopes for this therapy. Should it prove to have the results it has shown early signs toward, it could be instrumental in aiding in the pain relief of persistent injuries such as tendinitis of the knee and tennis elbow for both the professional and recreational athlete. Famous athletes such as Tiger Woods have touted the efficacy of this groundbreaking procedure, calling quite a bit of attention to it in the media.

PRP is a relatively new method of treatment for several orthopaedic conditions such as muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries; arthritis; and fractures. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote healing and delay joint replacement surgeries.

This is not a complete list. Please call our office at 888-922-2257 if your condition is not listed to find out if this treatment may be an option for you.

Most commonly known as platelet rich plasma therapy, this injection uses the patient’s own blood to help heal their injuries. Since it is autologous, meaning it comes from the patient’s own body, there is very low risk for transmissible infection or allergic reaction.

Additionally, early research has shown such positive results that it may be a way to avoid surgery and a lengthy recovery.

The procedure is fairly simple. A small sample of blood is taken, and then placed into a machine that creates a centrifuge, separating the platelets or plasma from red blood cells. Once this process is completed, a concentration of ten times the normal amount of platelets is left, leaving super-concentrated platelets rich in healing properties. These concentrated platelets are then injected into the injured area, promoting healing and regeneration of injured tissue.

When the body sustains soft tissue injury, platelets go to the site of injury and begin to regenerate and heal. However, some areas of the body receive a poor blood supply, thus making it difficult for the body to repair any tears or internal scarring. One such example would be tendinitis or rupture of the Achilles or tendonitis of the knee or elbow. It is now thought that because of the low blood supply, these areas of the body can never fully heal. With the advent of plasma rich protein injections, this problem may become a thing of the past.

Expanding past what is considered routine sports injuries, platelet rich plasma therapy is now being used to treat muscle sprains, arthritis, bone fractures, and surgical wounds. However, as the therapy is still in research and has not been proven medically, insurance companies have yet to reimburse the procedure. Patients are trusting in the procedure and the outcome they have seen in the news with prominent athletes such as Tiger Woods that they are paying for the procedure out of pocket.

While the therapy shows much early promise, patients should take care to research all options and discuss the therapy fully with their pain physician before going ahead with the treatment.

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