What is PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)?

PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. Like bone marrow, PRP is a powerful and natural therapy that has been used for decades to help heal tissue in both animals and humans. Platelets contain a vast array of growth factors that help to decrease inflammation and to bring in new blood vessels to the injured area to help it heal. PRP is typically used for painful tendon and ligament injuries and arthritic joints.

When healing has stalled, Platelet-Rich Plasma has been shown to help initiate tissue repair. It is able to activate tendon cells to heal, bone to regenerate, and stimulate new blood vessel development and the wound healing process. PRP treatment has even been shown to help normalize the lining of joints, helping them to return to a more youthful, less inflamed, state.

Common Cases Where Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment is Applicable:

  • Partial Rotator Cuff Tears and Shoulder Tendinopathy
  • Joints that are either in a mild state of arthritis or as an adjunct to stem cell therapy
  • Achilles problems
  • Tennis elbow
  • Partial tear of hamstring
  • Any injured ligament or tendon that has questionable blood supply (not covered by muscle)
  • Sports Hernia, now called athletic pubalgia. This is an intriguing new indication that we have been successful in treating.

These are just examples. All connective tissue healing in the body can be considered for PRP therapy when appropriate. It takes a consultation, often diagnostic ultrasound, review of any other imaging that has been done, and discussion to determine appropriateness.

Benefits of PRP Treatment

  • Decreased Pain
  • Tissue Healing
  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Minimally Invasive
  • Less Side Effects (compared to steroid injections or surgery)
  • Natural and Organic (from your own body)
  • Minimal to No Down Time

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PRP Safe?

PRP is just your tissue, after isolating the part of blood that stimulates healing. There is no chance of contracting someone else’s genetic material, and PRP has been shown not to cause cancer or other problems.

Does PRP Treatment Hurt?

Depending on the situation, PRP can massively accelerate healing and pain. Often the treated area feels worse for a day or a few days before starting to feel better. Other times, PRP starts helping the pain right away.

How many injections are needed? How often?

This requires Dr. Abrahamson’s judgement and guidance. For a young person, one treatment is the norm. For older people with higher grade problems, two or occasionally three treatments 6-12 weeks apart may be required.

What is the average recovery time?

There is a large spectrum of recovery. We have had a scholarship baseball player abandon the post-PRP protocol of easing back into activity because he was full speed and “100%” in 2 weeks, and we have had tennis elbow be “100% gone” in 4 days (patient words). Those are just data points, not promises. Usually the body takes much longer to heal. Generally healing is much faster with PRP therapy.

Why do we offer PRP?

PRP treatment is capable of producing remarkable results. At Integrative Sports Medicine, we ensure the highest standard of care by doing the injection with ultrasound guidance. Unlike many other clinics, we have the capability to offer multiple concentrations of platelets so that we can customize the treatment to your individual needs.

Platelets are coated with seven growth factors in particular that signal injured tissues to “wake up and heal.” It can be a great and cost-effective alternative when you don’t need additional cells in the area being treated.

“I just had a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment on my knees by Dr. Abrahamson. I wore out the cartilage in my knees in one summer doing 5000 foot elevations daily. The pain had gotten bad. The PRP treatment is quick, easy and fairly painless. I walked away, pain gone. Day two, no pain. Even if the pain returns, at least the treatment stabilizes the condition and slows the deterioration over time. I will check back in a couple weeks but for now, I am one happy camper!”

Citations and Scientific Literature

Franklin SL, Maffuli N, Morrey ME. The Use of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Percutaneous Treatment of Tendinopathies. Operative Techniques in Orthopaedics. 2013;23(2):63-68. doi:10.1053/j.oto.2013.05.004.

Finnoff JT, Fowler SP, Lai JK, et al. Treatment of Chronic Tendinopathy with Ultrasound-Guided Needle Tenotomy and Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection. Pm&r. 2011;3(10):900-911. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.05.015.

Jang S-J, Kim J-D, Cha S-S. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections as an effective treatment for early osteoarthritis. European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology. 2012;23(5):573-580. doi:10.1007/s00590-012-1037-5.

Lee JJ, Harrison JR, Boachie-Adjei K, Vargas E, Moley PJ. Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections With Needle Tenotomy for Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;4(11):232596711667169. doi:10.1177/2325967116671692.

Podesta L, Crow SA, Volkmer D, Bert T, Yocum LA. Treatment of Partial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tears in the Elbow With Platelet-Rich Plasma. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2013;41(7):1689-1694. doi:10.1177/0363546513487979.

Scollon-Grieve KL, Malanga GA. Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection for Partial Patellar Tendon Tear in a High School Athlete: A Case Presentation. Pm&r. 2011;3(4):391-395. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.11.008.

Sampson S, Aufiero D, Meng M, Bledin A, Gillette T, Zall M. Platelet-rich plasma therapy as a first-line treatment for severe Achilles tendon tear: a case report. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. 2011;18(2):101-105. doi:10.12968/ijtr.2011.18.2.101.

Wilson JJ, Lee KS, Miller AT, Wang S. Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciopathy in Adults. Foot & Ankle Specialist. 2013;7(1):61- 67. doi:10.1177/1938640013509671.