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Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a type of treatment that uses a patient's own blood to help reduce joint pain and improve joint function.
The process starts by drawing a small amount of blood from the patient, just like when getting a blood test. The blood is then put into a centrifuge, which is a machine that spins the blood at high speeds. This separates the blood into different layers, one of which is the platelet-rich plasma.
Platelets are a type of blood cell that play an important role in the body's healing process. They contain growth factors, which are natural chemicals that help promote the growth of new tissue and the healing of injuries. By using a concentrated amount of platelets from the patient's own blood, PRP treatments aim to increase the amount of growth factors at the site of the joint injury or damage, which can help to speed up the healing process and reduce pain.
PRP is often used to treat conditions like osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative condition that affects the joints, as well as injuries to the knee, shoulder, and other joints. It can also be used for treating tendinitis and ligament sprains.
This is different from steroid injections which can be very helpful but also have a potential negative effect as they can degrade tissue when used too frequently.
PRP treatment is generally done by injecting the patient's concentrated platelets directly into the joint that is causing pain.
It is important to note that PRP is relatively new and not yet fully established as a treatment, thus insurance does not cover the cost.
It's worth discussing with a doctor whether PRP might be a suitable option for your specific condition and injury.
In summary, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that uses a patient's own blood to help reduce joint pain and improve joint function. This treatment aims to increase the growth factors at the site of the joint injury which in turn speed up the healing process and reduce pain. It is exciting and hopefully will become a more common treatment than steroid injections.