Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine
Specialists at NYU Langone’s Center for Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine use platelet-rich plasma alone or in combination with other treatments to help musculoskeletal injuries and conditions heal more quickly and reduce pain and inflammation.
Platelets, along with red blood cells and white blood cells, are one of the solid components of blood. These sticky cell fragments cause blood to clot; growth factors, found in platelets, play an important part in how the body heals itself.
Plasma is the liquid part of blood. It is mostly water, but also contains proteins and other nutrients. Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is made by combining a concentrated solution of platelets with plasma, which your doctor injects directly into the damaged tissue. There is evidence suggesting platelet-rich plasma can improve function and reduce pain in people with the following acute or chronic conditions:
- Achilles tendon injury
- ankle cartilage lesions
- bursitis and tendinitis
- elbow sprains and strains, including tennis and golfer’s elbow
- hip impingement syndrome
- hip labral tears
- damage to, or fracture of, the cartilage of the ankle, knee, or elbow; also called osteochondral injuries
- knee articular cartilage injuries
- osteoarthritis of the ankle, hip, and knee
- plantar fasciitis
- shoulder labral tears
- tendinopathies of the ankle, including those of the posterior tibial tendon and the peroneal tendon
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment
To receive platelet-rich plasma, your doctor takes a small amount of your blood from a vein in your arm and then uses a device called a centrifuge to separate the platelets and growth factors from other parts of the blood. This solution is placed in a syringe, and your doctor injects it directly into the affected tissue, using ultrasound guidance if necessary for precision and accuracy. This is an in-office procedure and usually takes no more than 30 minutes.
After the treatment, you may experience soreness at the injection site for a few days. Your doctor may advise you to avoid anti-inflammatory medications for up to several weeks after the procedure. This is because the platelet-rich plasma injection stimulates the body’s inflammatory response, a key part of healing that these medications could block. After a platelet-rich plasma injection, your doctor may also advise you to limit or avoid activity for up to six weeks, depending on the injury or condition, to allow it to heal.
How soon you experience relief, and how long that relief lasts, depends on several factors, including the severity of your injury or condition. Your doctor will explain what you can expect.