Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy (PRP)
By: Corinne Gehegan, DPM
What is platelet rich plasma (PRP)?
Platelet rich plasma is derived from the blood. By withdrawing a small volume of blood from the vein and transferring it to a specialized centrifuge (separator), a concentrated amount of platelets, white blood cells, and growth factors can be collected. The process is in effect harnessing the blood’s natural healing components. The concentration is then injected directly into damaged tissue in hopes of triggering the body’s physiologic healing cascade and, therefore, the healing process.
Who is a candidate?
PRP is utilized by multiple medical specialties including, but not limited to cardiology, orthopedics, and plastic surgery. In the field of podiatric surgery it has various applications including muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. Additionally, it may be used as an adjunct to promote bone healing. PRP has also been employed for wound healing as in the case of a diabetic ulcer or pressure ulcer. Examples of soft tissue injuries are plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains and partial tendon tears.
What is the peri-procedure course?
PRP injections may be performed in the office, at a surgery center, or in the hospital setting. Most often the patient will undergo light IV sedation. The blood is withdrawn, centrifuged, and ultimately injected. Pre-procedure testing and clearance is almost always required for IV sedation. The extent of pre-procedure testing is determined by your doctor and is dependent on age and medical history. PRP may be used alone or in conjunction with another surgical procedure. If used as an adjunct, it may be collected intra-operatively. The post procedure course is determined by the particular condition being addressed and adjunctive procedures if any. The PRP portion of the case requires less than one half hour.
Many applications of PRP are considered “off label”. Multiple studies have been published in the medical literature and several clinical trials are underway. The role of platelets as it relates to their contribution of growth factors is undisputed; however, long term trials for all PRP applications are required. PRP is safe because the patient is receiving an injection of their own blood components that can be collected, processed, and administered under sterile technique. There can be no guarantee of success with PRP injection therapy. Please report use of blood thinners to your doctor before considering PRP as a peri-procedure protocol is advised.
Article written by Dr. Corinne Gehegan
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