Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Used to Heal Tendons

The following article was written by Peter Kung, M.D., of Longview Orthopedic Associates. For more information about PRP treatment, call 360.501.3400.

What is it?

Platelet rich plasma, also known as autologous conditioned plasma, is a concentrated form of platelets and growth factors taken directly from the patient. Everyone’s bodies have platelets and growth factors that encourage the natural healing response. By taking these factors, concentrating them, and re-injecting them into healing tissue it may speed up the healing process.

Centrifuge
Centrifuge

How is it used?

A small amount of blood is recovered from the patient (usually less than 10mL). This blood is put into a machine (centrifuge) and the growth factors and plasma are separated from the red blood cells. This plasma is then re-injected into the injured area

What are the benefits?

This injection is less invasive than surgery. It uses one’s own cells for healing. If this treatment does not work, then there is always the possibility of surgery. It costs far less compared to surgical procedures. The procedure is quick (less than 20 minutes) and can be performed in the office. In addition, there is generally a far shorter recovery time than with surgery.

What areas can it be used to treat?

It can be used to encourage tendon healing in lateral and medial epicondylitis (aka tennis and golfers elbow), patella tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis, trochanteric bursitis and certain muscle strains/tears. As scientists learn more, the use of platelet rich plasma and the indications will continue to increase.

Will my insurance cover it?

Although PRP treatments have been used for many years, some insurances still consider it an experimental treatment.

What are the risks involved?

There are minimal risks involved with this procedure because the injection is coming directly from the patient’s body. There are minor risks associated with drawing blood and with the injection. These are the same risks as with any shot.

Am I a good candidate?

Your doctor will be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for this type of procedure.

What are my limitations after the injection?

Because we are injecting growth factors that will encourage your body’s healing response, there are minimal limitations associated with the injection. The injection site and area will be sore, so we ask that you do not overdo it.