Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection is a therapeutic treatment using the patients’ own blood, put through a centrifuge to separate and concentrate the number of platelets, which is then re-injected to the injured site or pain area. Because platelets contain a variety of growth factors which are instrumental in the healing process of tissues, this concentrated dose is championed for its regenerative properties. Considered a conservative therapy (as opposed to surgery, for example), PRP injections are administered in an office setting and work fast to kickstart a number of biological processes.
Recently, Platelet Rich Plasma injection treatment has become popular among professional athletes as a solution to potentially career-slowing injuries. When Tiger Woods spoke to the media about his treatment in 2009, research on PRP was relatively new and considered more trend than science due to its high profile list of supporters.
However, the popularity of the treatment has pushed the scientific community to further examine the effects PRP. The evidence base continues to mount with exploration into how platelet-rich plasma may play a role in improving clinical outcomes in patients with early onset osteoarthritis. In a double-blind randomized trial published in 2013, patient groups who received PRP reported a relief in symptoms over the placebo group who received injections of saline.
Dennis Cardone, associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU’s Langone Medical Center explains in an interview with NPR, that although its effectiveness is still in the early stages of research, PRP is at least now something that he can safely offer to patients who might not have had conservative options before.