A recent study conducted in 2021 showed that platelet-rich plasma injections delay the need for knee replacement with 86% of patients did not undergo total knee replacement during a five-year follow-up. Source
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
PRP consists of three elements: the plasma (the largest part of your blood), the platelets, and red blood cells. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, act as a reservoir for growth factors in the body. These growth factors include IGF, FGFb, and VEGF to name a few, and they play a significant role in coagulation, immune response, angiogenesis and the healing of damaged tissue.
By isolating these growth factors in the plasma, Men’s Health Partners is able to increase the concentration of a patient's own platelets to accelerate and activate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.
PRP injections are prepared by taking a few tubes of your own blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. The serum is then injected directly into the injured sight and activated to begin a process of healing.
PRP has been found to significantly enhance the healing process for many ailments, including shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff tears, osteoarthritis of the knee, achilles tendon ruptures and other soft-tissue injuries.
Since treatments are using your own blood, side effects of PRP injections are very limited, as your body will not reject the cells.
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There is little debate today as to the benefits of PRP. While it is not a fix-it-all type of treatment, a study conducted in October of 2020 in the Journal of International Medical Research found that “injection of PRP is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis” and went on to show a reduction in post-operative pain, improved function and an increase in patient satisfaction.
In a study conducted in 2017 in the American Medical Journal of Arthroscopy medical scientists indicated that PRP injections in the knee were more effective in terms of pain, and self reported function at 3,6, and 12 month follow up compared to other treatments like hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids.
There are a milieu of references suggesting the evidence with PRP is not enough and oftentimes does not work. These studies often address a main issue in PRP treatments, the variation of treatment modalities from one physician to another. In other words, not all physicians treat the same way. Additional research suggests that PRP ineffectiveness is generally due to the administration protocol and poor patient selection.
When we are told that PRP didn’t work it usually comes down to a treatment of a single shot and very little, if any follow up care. If treatment protocols aren’t followed, effectiveness will wear off over time. PRP treatments should involve a protocol that incorporates multi-factorial considerations, including multiple treatments and compression care.
The short answer; sometimes yes, sometimes no. Single shot treatments tend to be a temporary fix. When they do work, there will be an obvious reduction in inflammation, hence a reduction in pain. However, if the underlying tissue has not had sufficient care, the area will re-inflame causing a reemergence of pain and discomfort. Patient age can usually be a factor on the number of treatments required to heal.
Absolutely. There should be little debate today. PRP Therapy works better as a multi-injection, multi-treatments. In October of 2021 a paper was published in the journal Archives of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery which proved the efficacy of multiple PRP injections compared to a single dose therapy.
In this study scientists concluded that in comparison to placebo, PRP was shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, and that multiple doses increase the duration and efficacy.
As with any injection, there is always a small risk of infection or risk of bleeding. Injuries to tendons or ligaments can occur, but are unlikely. Many patients will experience some discomfort for a period following the treatment.
Absolutely. In fact, the results have been significant. Using PRP therapy in combination with a treatment protocol, PRP has shown to benefit 97% of our patients.
Most practices today charge anywhere from $1000-$4000 per PRP injection. This is due to each PRP draw involves using additional supplies and physician time for each treatment. At Men’s Health Partners, our PRP is concentrated to provide an effective dose every single time requiring less treatments. Our fee of $2,500 includes multiple injections, compression therapy, and all follow up care.
Additionally, if multiple treatment areas are requested (for example knee and elbow), we can treat simultaneously at the time of draw for a fraction of the of the entire treatment due to less supplies and time needed.
Despite the plethora of data, most insurance carriers deem PRP as investigational. While the science behind PRP is still developing, there are plenty of studies indicating it’s safety and efficacy.