Dr. Brian C. Halpern, Sports Medicine Physician at Hospital for Special Surgery, discusses how platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections may help treat injured bone or soft tissue, such as a tendon or ligament. Produced from a person’s own blood, PRP is a concentration of a type of cells called platelets which contain factors that are essential for healing tissues. PRP has been shown to help improve function in people with conditions such as chronic tendonitis, arthritis, tennis elbow, golfer elbow, rotator cuff tears and Achilles tendon injuries.
The PRP treatment process starts with a blood sample that is taken from a patient. The blood is put into a centrifuge to separate the PRP from the blood. After the PRP is treated, it is injected back into the patient’s injured area of bone or soft tissue. Some patients who received a PRP injection experienced improved function and less pain within two to six weeks following treatment. Because PRP is created from a patient’s own blood, it is considered a relatively low-risk treatment with the potential to improve or speed healing. Further studies are needed to prove the effectiveness of PRP treatment.