Platelet-Rich Plasma is derived from a patient's own blood, spun down to the platelets, which are useful for stimulating healing and growth

January 12, 2018

Platelet Rich Plasma, used by high-profile athletes for years, presents lots of opportunity for everyday orthopedic treatment

High-profile athletes in almost every major sport have used platelet-rich plasma in injury treatment and recovery for years now - the likes of golfer Tiger Woods, tennis star Rafael Nadal, NBA phenom Steph Curry, and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward have all benefited from this technique. Professional athletes, however, are not the only ones who can take advantage of this treatment.

Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is an injectable made from a patient’s own blood, which is drawn and spun down to isolate the plasma. The plasma is rich in platelets - which contain growth factors and hormones that are necessary for healing and stimulation of healing.. The science on PRP treatments is still developing, according to OSMC’s Dr. Trevor Gaskill, but its potential to improve recovery time and reduce pain is intriguing.

“We know it’s safe,” Dr. Gaskill said. “We have seen it accelerate recovery for different types soft tissue injuries and emerging data supports its use in arthritic knees. . Some patients show a significant benefit, others not so much, but there’s a growing amount of data to support its use.”

Dr. Gaskill said that PRP is a treatment he frequently discusses with patients whom have suffered a musculoskeletal injury. . In addition to speeding recovery time for muscle and ligament damage, PRP has some degree of an anti-inflammatory effect. According to Dr. Gaskill, the treatment is helpful in a wide range of situations. It can speed up or improve injury recovery for minor injuries and more significant ones that require a surgical procedure - for example, a paper cited by Dr. Gaskill found that approximately 36 baseball pitchers were able to return to the same level of throwing after sustaining an ulnar collateral ligament tear and using PRP in the treatment process. Aside from athletic injuries, PRP can be helpful for pain in the joints and muscles, including arthritis.

“The question that we ultimately have is what the durability of improvement  is,” Dr. Gaskill said. “In other words, has it healed long-term, or is this a short-term fix? However, it certainly appears to have at least some function in helping rebuild or generate healing with certain areas, and it also works as a natural anti-inflammatory and can help modulate pain receptors.”

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