Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

a physician injects PRP into a young man's knee

About PRP Therapy

Blood plasma is the liquid component of blood that makes up about half of its total volume. Blood plasma that is rich in small cell fragments called platelets can be used to treat a number of musculoskeletal conditions. Platelets circulate in the blood of all mammals, and contain many growth factors that are known to stimulate the growth and healing of both bones and soft tissues.

PRP Therapy Benefits

Compared to cortisone injections and other methods of treating osteoarthritis and tendon injuries, platelet-rich plasma therapy has a low risk of complications. Because the injections actually heal the affected areas, the relief from osteoarthritis pain can last for an extended period of time.

The treatment can also provide long-term relief from hip pain, knee pain, elbow pain, foot pain, and other pain caused by inflamed connective tissue. Improvements in these conditions are typically noticeable after a few weeks, and the pain relief gradually increases as the tissue is repaired. Since the plasma is drawn from the patient’s own body, there is almost no risk of rejection from this procedure.

PRP/BMAC Testimonial

PRP Therapy FAQ's

What is Platelet Rich Plasma?

Blood is composed of a number of different substances. The liquid component is called plasma and platelets (also called thrombocytes), the part of the blood that helps it clot when you bleed. In addition, platelets contain growth factors that play an important role in the body’s natural healing process. Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is simply plasma that contains a higher-than-usual concentration of platelets, about 5 to 10 times the normal number.

How does PRP therapy work?
  • The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells.
  • Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells.
  • PRP’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets directly into the area in need.
  • To create PRP, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The process is handled manually by a lab technician, producing higher concentrations of platelets and a much more pure concentration of the beneficial blood components.
  • The PRP is then injected directly into the injured area of bone or soft tissue to facilitate the healing process.
How is PRP made?

PRP is created by drawing a sample of your own blood through a needle, similar to how blood is taken for a blood donation or for lab work. The blood is placed in a special machine that separates the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelets then go through an additional process called centrifugation to increase the number of platelets. Once centrifugation is complete, the platelets are re-combined with the remaining blood and injected back into your body to promote healing at a site of injury.

How does PRP promote healing?

Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells. When injected into an injured area of the body, PRP’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets directly into the area in need.

When is PRP used?

Osteoarthritis, which involves the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, is one of the major conditions treated by platelet-rich plasma therapy. Platelet-rich plasma can also be used to heal tendon and ligament problems that result in hip pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, and elbow pain. Many of these problems stem from the wear and tear caused by the repetitive motions involved in certain sports, and athletes are increasingly using platelet-rich plasma therapy to treat tennis elbow and other sports injuries. PRP can also be used during surgery to jump-start the healing process immediately following the surgical procedure.

What is the PRP injection recovery time?

After a PRP injection, patients may experience soreness for 2-3 days, and pain medication may be prescribed. Following treatment, we recommend that patients rest for a few days or weeks after the treatment in order to prevent the injected tissue from being exerted too quickly. Typically, pain relief starts to occur within three to four weeks, and continues to improve over a period of three to six months following an injection. The recovery time frame varies depending on which area was treated. Sometimes arthritic joints respond much faster to PRP injections than a patient being treated for tendonitis.

Details of the procedure

Platelet-rich plasma therapy takes about 90 minutes from start to finish. Platelet-rich plasma is obtained by drawing blood from the patient and placing it in a centrifuge for about 15 minutes. The centrifuge spins at a high speed, separating the PRP from the rest of the patient’s blood particles. Once the layer of platelet rich plasma is isolated, it is injected directly into the injured area of bone or soft tissue to facilitate the healing process. The body responds by increasing its natural healing processes in the area. Some procedures consist of a single injection while others involve multiple treatments over an extended period of time.

What are the potential risks?

The side effects of the procedure are relatively rare. They include a very low risk of infection when a needle is inserted into the skin. The injection site may also bleed or bruise after the procedure. Patients who suffer from bleeding disorders or who take “blood thinners” that inhibits blood clotting should avoid platelet-rich plasma therapy, if these blood thinners cannot be held prior to the injection. While any knee, elbow, or shoulder pain should eventually subside, some patients experience increased inflammation and pain after the injection.


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