Platelet rich plasma (abbreviated PRP) is a treatment used for a variety of common orthopedic conditions. PRP is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood, and these platelets have growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries. Growth factors are chemicals that signal the body to initiate a healing response. By injecting PRP into areas of an injury, the hope is to stimulate and optimize your body’s ability to heal the chronic conditions. PRP contains a high concentration of platelets, other blood cells important in healing, and growth factors.
PRP is obtained from the patient who is being treated. Blood is withdrawn from a vein in the patient’s arm and the blood is placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins at a high speed to separate the different types of blood cells. The physician extracts the platelet-rich portion of the blood, and injects this into the area of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the healing process. There are not just platelets in the concentrated layer of the “spun” blood, but also other important growth factors, plasma, and some red blood cells. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of transmissible infection and a low risk of an allergic reaction.