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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma consists of two elements — plasma and platelets. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood and platelets are a type of blood cell that promotes healing. Platelets contain growth factors that trigger cell reproduction and tissue regeneration.

It’s plasma that contains more platelets in it to help stimulate healing while reducing pain and inflammation.

How Is PRP Therapy Performed?

PRP therapy is created by drawing a patient’s blood (like during a common blood test) and placing the sample in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins rapidly, causing the blood to separate its different components and allowing for the collection of platelet-rich plasma. This concentrated plasma solution is put into a syringe for injection into the affected area. 

How is Platelet-Rich Plasma Used?

Platelet-rich plasma can treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic and acute issues.

Joint, Muscle, Tendon & Ligament Injuries

Chronic conditions like tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and jumper’s knee can benefit from PRP injections speeding up the healing process and decreasing pain and inflammation. For athletes and sports enthusiasts, it offers a significantly shorter recovery time than surgical alternatives, helping you get back to your routine faster.

Disc Pain & Disc Herniations 

Platelet-rich plasma can help treat and provide pain relief from disc herniations, complementing modalities like spine-specialized physical therapy to relieve discomfort and enhance rehabilitation.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

This treatment can help relieve the pain, stiffness, and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.

Surgical Healing

If surgery is required, PRP can also be used during the procedure to help promote healing in the affected area. For example, if a patient needs surgery to repair a torn tendon, platelet-rich plasma can be injected into the affected area to help speed recovery.

It is also beneficial for treating areas of the body that typically have longer recovery times or pose a higher risk with surgical intervention. When injected into extremities like certain joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the team at Virginia Spine Institute uses ultrasound imaging to ensure optimal placement. If platelet-rich plasma is being injected into structures of the spine, we typically use x-ray imaging such as fluoroscopy for precision guidance. 

Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Right for Me?

Recovering from an injury can often feel like a long, winding road back to health. However, for athletes and weekend warriors diagnosed with an injury or condition, the possibility of choosing surgery could also mean extensive recovery time.

Patience and persistence are two crucial factors in creating the best possible recovery outcomes. But there is also another element that can offer a significant advantage without drastic or problematic side effects. 

PRP injections are a popular, drug-free treatment that helps the body accelerate its natural healing process. It can treat various conditions, including sports injuries, wounds, back injuries, and osteoarthritis. It is even used cosmetically to treat hair loss and facial procedures. It can be injected into injured or damaged joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments and doesn’t require anesthesia, making it a quick and effective treatment option. 

At Virginia Spine Institute, we regularly use platelet-rich plasma injections as a non-operative, regenerative medicine approach because it offers patients low risk and minimal downtime while providing excellent results.

What Are the Benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma?

As a non-operative method that stimulates regeneration and provides pain relief, PRP can help patients of all ages get back to life in a matter of weeks. By contrast, some surgeries may require months to achieve a full recovery. And alternative treatments like corticosteroids or other medications may have limitations regarding how frequently they can be administered. Regenerative medicine can help your body to rev up its healing engine and avoid some of the side effects typically seen with other medications.

Because PRP is a regenerative medicine modality, it doesn’t just mask the pain or symptoms a patient is experiencing. Instead, it helps heal the root cause of the problem — and it does so naturally.

  • Shorter recovery time compared to surgery
  • No anesthesia required
  • Natural healing procedure
  • Increased functionality and range of motion
  • Effective solution to avoid or delay surgery
  • Improved pain relief and decreased inflammation
  • Outpatient procedure in the comfort of our state-of-the-art facility

What Are the Risks?

PRP is considered a low-risk procedure. Because platelet-rich plasma is made of your cells and plasma, complications or an allergic reaction are less likely compared to other therapies. In addition, since it is derived from your blood, it’s not classified as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Potential risks or side effects of a PRP injection can include bleeding, tissue damage, infection, and nerve injury. In addition, it’s critical to avoid blood-thinning or anti-inflammatory medications (such as Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, etc.) with this treatment as they can impede the healing process. Be sure to consult with your health care provider for specific guidance.

Find the Best PRP Specialist For You

Taking the time to consult a specialist on the specifics of your spinal or orthopedic care can provide a tailored solution that gives you the confidence you need to move forward. We offer consultations at the Virginia Spine Institute to help people explore their treatment options and learn more about innovative therapies like regenerative medicine (including PRP, stem cell therapy, and prolotherapy).

Schedule your first appointment online with us and explore your options today.

Meet our Regenerative Medicine Team

Dr. Niteesh Bharara

Orthopedic Specialist - Non-Surgical Sports Medicine
Director of Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Thomas Nguyen

Interventional Pain Specialist
Aesthetic Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Christopher Good

Spine Surgeon
President of Virginia Spine Institute

Dr. Colin Haines

Spine Surgeon
Director of Research

Dr. Thomas Schuler

Spine Surgeon
Founder
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Ehsan Jazini

Spine Surgeon

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