Platelet Rich Plasma injection therapy (PRP therapy), is a treatment option best known for soft tissue injuries including tendon, muscle and ligaments. It is also used for mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
Platelet rich plasma therapy has been used overseas, particularly in Europe, for many years but only recently has it been used regulalrly in Australia for the treatment of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions.
Some tissues in the body have a poor blood supply or respond poorly to excessive load and ultimately are unable to heal naturally. This reslts in chronic injuries and occurs most often in those who exercise at any level.
The initial treatments for these soft tissue injuries amongst many others are physiotherapy, massage and biomechanical correction.
When these treatments have failed PRP therapy is an option which utilises the healing properties within blood to start and encourage healing in a tissue that is not healing on its own.
Platelets are collected from your blood (plasma). The plasma is spun which separates it into its components and the “platelet rich plasma” layer which also contains white blood cells is collected. This layer is injected into the tissue that is being treated.
Platelets contain special growth factors that when released, allow stem cells within the tissue to switch on and cause new tissue to be synthesised and healing the injured area.
An example is lateral hip pain of gluteal muscle tendinopathy or entheseopathy. If the Gluteal tendon is painful, thickened and not responding to rehabilitation PRP can be injected into the tendon. This will cause tendon cells (tenocytes/fibroblasts) to synthesise new collagen. This strengthens the tendon and promotes healing.
Gluteus Medius tendon entheseopathy with progressive partial and full thickness tears (green arrow) .
In this situation progressive pain and loss of function over four years of conservative management. Required surgical tendon repair and PRP injection for pain relief.