A platelet-rich plasma injection is a treatment method in which a doctor injects a high concentration of platelets taken from the patient's own blood into an injured area of soft tissue or bone, as explained by the Hospital for Special Surgery. Research shows that this can improve strength and healing.
Platelets are vital for blood clotting and play an important role in the multiplication and recruitment of reparative cells, as stated by the Hospital for Special Surgery. Before a PRP injection, the doctor places a sample of the patient's blood into a centrifuge to separate the blood before collecting the platelet-rich plasma. The doctor may then use ultrasound to help pinpoint the appropriate tissue location during the injection. The patient then avoids exercise for a certain period of time before beginning rehabilitation.
PRP injections are often used to treat musculoskeletal issues as well as injured muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. Some animal-based studies support the effectiveness of PRP injections, but clinical studies with human subjects are limited as of 2015. The most promising results involve the treatment of Achilles tendinosis, tennis elbow and osteoarthritis of the knee. Side effects of the treatment are limited due to the use of the patient's own blood, but anti-inflammatory medications should not be taken before or after the treatment.