Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, therapy is a treatment procedure for tissue injuries that involves increasing the platelet concentration in the patient’s blood plasma. It can speed up the recovery of tendon injuries, knee arthritis, tennis elbow, ligament injuries and ankle sprains. In combination with surgeries, PRP can help improve torn heel cords. However, the effectiveness of PRP depends on the specific type of injury, the health of the patient and the affected area of the body.
PRP therapy begins with drawing blood samples from the patient and spinning them in a centrifuge at high speeds. The centrifugation process separates the platelets from the other blood components while increasing their concentrations. The resulting platelet-rich blood plasma is then injected into the injury site to recombine with the patient’s blood. Platelets contain natural growth factors that initiate the repair of the injured tissues and increase the speed of healing. The use of the patient’s own blood reduces the risk of both transmissible infection and allergic reactions.
In addition to chronic tendon injuries, plasma-rich platelet therapy can be effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic plantar fasciitis. The role and efficacy of the therapy in the treatment of various conditions is still under research, as of 2015.