By: Dr. Robert J. Landy
June 14, 2012
In cases of chronic achilles tendonitis that is not responding to conservative care, a great in-office option is platelet rich plasma injection. The idea of platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection is to allow the growth factors in the blood to be used to cause an inflammation process in the injured tissue to allow an increase in the healing response of the body. The blood is drawn and spun down. Under ultrasound guidance and local anesthesia in the office, the injection of the PRP is placed in the damaged tissue. This allows an increased growth factor release in the area that sparks the healing process.
How does PRP therapy help?
The body’s first response to soft tissue injury is to deliver platelet cells. Packed with growth and healing factors, platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells. PRP therapy’s natural healing process intensifies the body’s efforts by delivering a higher concentration of platelets. To create PRP therapy, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing signal. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a very low risk of allergic reaction.
How long does it take?
The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, including preparation and recovery time. Performed safely in a medical office, PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery. In fact, most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the procedure.
How often should this procedure be done?
Up to three injections may be given within a six-month time frame, usually performed two to three weeks apart. You may, however, gain considerable to complete relief after the first or second injection.
What are the expected results?
Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.