Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a cutting-edge, regenerative therapy that can play a crucial role in orthopedic treatment by promoting tissue repair and stimulating natural healing responses. Derived from a sample of your own blood, PRP doesn’t carry the risks associated with long-term use of pain medicines, and there are no risks of allergic reaction or rejection.
Dominique Nickson, MD, uses PRP injections to treat an array of orthopedic issues in patients at Next Step Orthopedics. These injections could help you reduce painful symptoms and restore function in joints, tendons, and other damaged areas.
PRP and the healing process
Platelets contain tiny proteins called growth factors. These proteins play several critical roles in healing and tissue repair and regeneration.
Healing is a very complex process involving multiple biological processes that occur in three stages or phases: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. PRP assists in each of these stages.
Many of us think of inflammation as bad, but inflammation helps initiate the healing process by fighting off infections and activating key immune responses. This is also when clotting takes place to control bleeding associated with some types of injuries.
The second stage of healing is when your body begins to repair and replace damaged tissues with new, healthy cells. Growth factors in PRP stimulate and support this stage by recruiting cells called fibroblasts from the surrounding tissues.
These cells produce collagen necessary for tissue repair. Other growth factors support new blood vessel formation, delivering nutrients to new cells while removing wastes produced during healing.
This final phase supports collagen formation, helping your body form strong, dense scar tissue to repair the damaged area and prevent future injury.
Growth factors assist in all of these phases, and PRP therapy provides additional growth factors for enhanced responses in every healing and recovery stage.
Where PRP is used
PRP’s versatility makes it an ideal treatment option for many common and complex orthopedic issues, including:
- Knee arthritis and other cartilage problems
- Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow
- Shoulder tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Ankle arthritis or tendonitis
- Foot arthritis or tendonitis
In addition to injection therapy, Dr. Nickson may use PRP during arthroscopic surgery to help jump-start the healing process during the immediate postoperative period.
PRP treatment begins with the extraction of a small sample of your blood. The sample is processed in a centrifuge device that separates platelets and plasma (the liquid part of your blood) from the other components of your blood.
The resulting concentration is injected directly into the area of injury. Every phase of treatment — from blood sampling to platelet processing to reinjection — is performed right in our office in McKinney, Texas.
Afterward, you can expect some minor swelling and discomfort around the injection site for a day or two. You may need to limit strenuous activities during the initial stages of healing. Most activities can be resumed within a week.
Find out if PRP is right for you
PRP plays a crucial role in healing many orthopedic injuries, but it’s not always an appropriate choice of therapy. At Next Step Orthopedics, Dr. Nickson performs an in-depth evaluation of your condition before recommending PRP (or any therapy), tailoring your treatment to your needs and goals.