One of the newest types of injection is Platelet-Rich plasma or PRP
Finally, one of the newest types of injection is Platelet-Rich plasma or PRP. As the name implies, we use the patient’s own blood to treat a condition. Firstly, we take a blood sample. Similar to a normal blood test, we draw blood from a vein in the elbow. Next, we place the blood in a centrifuge. Gradually, the cells separate into two components: serum and cells. This serum contains platelets. Platelets contain a high number of growth factors. Finally, we remove the serum and platelets from the red cells and inject them into a joint or tendon. Once again, we use ultrasound to improve accuracy.
Evidence for the effectiveness of PRP exists only for a few common conditions:
There are now 23 randomised controlled trials that show PRP is better than other injections (such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid) for improving pain in KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS. PRP has shown better results than hyaluronic acid for knee osteoarthritis.
PRP is better than cortisone for TENIS ELBOW in some studies.
In PLANTAR FASCIITIS, PRP is better than cortisone in 9 studies. In patients with severe plantar fasciitis, PRP is better than cortisone and safer than surgery.
One study shows that PRP is better than cortisone for HIP TENDONITIS.
In shoulder tendonitis, PRP is shown to be better than cortisone after 3 months but not at 12 months.
Platelets are important cells that control clotting. Also, they contain a high concentration of growth factors. These growth factors control inflammation and healing. Injecting platelet-rich plasma into a joint or tendon leads to the release of growth factors improving the local tendon or joint environment. Ultimately, this leads to a lower level of pain and tissue healing. However, there is no evidence that PRP regenerates tissue.