Plasma is one of the main components of blood. It also contains small solid components of red cells, white cells, and platelets. The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
Platelet-rich plasma is plasma with more platelets than is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer). This means that the concentration of growth factors is 5 to 10 times greater, promoting better healing. Laboratory studies have shown that PRP can help increase certain growth factors that are important in the healing process.
PRP injections have been shown to have beneficial effects for a wide variety of injury recoveries such as Achilles injuries and ACL or MCL tears. It can also help support recovery from tennis elbow, tendonitis, and even arthritis. PRP Injections are a form of regenerative medicine meaning the patient's natural healing system is being utilized to help heal tissue and recover faster.
To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from the patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. The concentration of platelets is then injected directly into the injured or diseased body tissue. This releases the growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells in the injured part of the body.
Side effects are uncommon, but they are possible. Any time a needle is inserted through the skin, an infection can occur. The other more common side effect of PRP injections is an increase in inflammation and pain after the injection for a brief period of time before the benefits may be felt.
Since studies have been for a relatively short duration, insurance companies still consider the procedure experimental. However, there have been a large number of success stories. Many patients who have received positive results from PRP injections felt it was well worth the investment for the relief they gained. As always, individual results will vary and not everyone will have the same level of success or benefit.
Because insurance does not currently cover the cost of PRP injections, our office does require payment prior to receiving the injections. Currently, PRP injections are only available in our Fort Dodge Clinic.
From recovering from a surgery or injury to dealing with a chronic condition to sports medicine purposes, find out if PRP therapy is right for you. As a partner of Iowa Specialty Hospital, we are proud to offer the most innovative health solution and premier providers in the state of Iowa.
Call 515-955-6767 to discuss this option with your provider or to schedule an appointment.