What is a Platelet Rich Plasma injection?
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP as it is commonly called, falls into a form of medicine referred to as “regenerative medicine” since the goal of treatment is to regenerate tissue. It involves drawing a small sample of the patient’s blood, concentrating certain healing components from the sample, and re-injecting the mixture back into the patient’s body at the site of an injury. PRP is a safe and effective treatment option for many conditions including tendonitis, ligament injuries, muscle trauma, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, fractures, and even diabetic ulcers. In fact, many surgeons are now incorporating PRP into their surgeries for faster healing.
How do PRP shots work?
The way PRP injections work is by kick-starting the healing process of an area that is “stuck” in the inflammatory stage. Your body responds to injuries by recruiting platelets to the site. PRP delivers a higher concentration of platelets directly to the area of need, which contain growth and healing factors essential for repairing tissues. In addition, platelets attract other vital proteins from the blood to assist healing. No outside chemicals are added to the plasma; it consists of components from your own blood that have been concentrated and carefully placed where they can be used to aid the natural healing process.
How is the procedure performed?
PRP treatment involves drawing a small amount of the patient’s blood and spinning the blood down in a centrifuge. A centrifuge is a piece of medical equipment that spins tubes of blood at a high rate of speed and separates the blood into different layers based on their weights. The layer containing the concentrated platelets is separated from the other layers, then precisely injected back into the area in need of repair. PRP is usually injected using advanced imaging guidance to ensure it is placed in the proper location.
Why does PRP work?
We think of inflammation as a bad thing, but it has a physiological purpose: it’s the first stage of healing. The problem is that many injuries become chronic and, the body gets “stuck” in this phase. If an area does not get past the inflammatory stage into the healing stage, it can linger in the inflammatory stage for months or even years. PRP shots stimulate the site, turning an old chronic injury into a “new” injury and allowing the healing process to continue through its inflammatory phase into the healing phase.
How are PRP shots different from cortisone injections?
In a sense, PRP shots function in the exact opposite way that cortisone or steroid shots function. Cortisone and steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They have been used for decades to relief painful inflammation. The trouble is that the inflammation comes right back after they wear off because you are not treating the underlying cause.
PRP therapy is only one potential option for encouraging healing or relief from many foot and ankle problems. If you have a chronic condition, our specalists can offer a full examination and advice on which forms of treatment might find you the comfort you deserve. Schedule an appointment with our office by calling (504) 508-5100 or visiting our appointment request page.