Facts about Platelet – Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

What is PRP?

PRP is a preparation made in a lab from a patient’s whole blood, where platelet-derived growth factors are concentrated and injected back into the same patient to stimulate healing. PRP is blood plasma that is enriched with platelets.

Our blood has many components, one of which is platelets. Platelets are best known as essential for blood clotting. But platelets also contain proteins called growth factors that help in healing, and increase collagen production to repair soft tissues, and muscles. Platelets also stimulate the growth of stem cells to restore tissues, enhance blood flow, and generate firmer and more resilient cartilage. In addition, PRP has anti-inflammatory properties.

Where does PRP come from?

It comes from the patient’s own blood. When PRP is recommended, a small amount of the patient’s blood is collected, and spun to separate the platelets from the plasma and red blood cells. The concentrated platelets are then injected at the site of patient’s injury to accelerate the healing process.

Is PRP therapy safe?

Yes, PRP therapy is a safe way to speed healing. PRP is made from a patient’s own blood, and injected back in the same patient. There is no risk of adverse reaction, or disease transmission.

Are there any side effects from PRP Therapy?

Yes, the most common side effects are pain at the site of the injection, which usually resolves within a few hours, followed by some swelling and post-injection pain in the affected joint, that usually lasts just a few days.

PRP Therapy in Orthopedics

Orthopedic applications of PRP therapy have been in use since the 1990s to facilitate bone and soft tissue healing. Since 2009, PRP therapy has been used to treat sports injuries including torn tendons, muscles and ligaments. Many professional and recreational athletes seek PRP therapy to help them quickly return to competition and regular activities.

PRP therapy is conservative treatment for cartilage degeneration that occurs in knee osteoarthritis. In this case it reduces inflammation, and improves symptoms, to restore the patient’s quality of life.

It is also used to treat rotator cuff injuries, and ligament injuries of the arms, elbows, hamstrings, Achilles tendon pain, and in sports medicine. PRP therapy is also used during cartilage surgery for cartilage degeneration.

PRP therapy is an alternative to surgery in some cases. It is a less invasive option that requires la shorter recovery and is less painful than surgery.

PRP therapy vs. cortisone injections

PRP therapy provides a solution to soft tissue injury by ramping up the body’s natural ability to heal. Symptom relief is not instant, rather it takes a few weeks to see improvement. Pain lessens as weeks go by.

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that provides short term symptom relief, and is often recommended for joint pain.  But, cortisone injections inhibit the body’s natural healing ability, and do not offer the ability to repair an injured joint, bursa, ligament or tendon. Rather, cortisone injection can cause degeneration of the soft tissue and bone loss.

PRP therapy is more effective and durable than cortisone injections. It doesn’t wear off like a pain injection.

PRP vs. Hyaluronic Acid injections

HA injection is often recommended for knee arthritis pain and mobility. Studies show that PRP

Therapy is longer lasting and more effective than Hyaluronic Acid injections, in improving mild to moderate pain and joint function.

Who is a good candidate for PRP Therapy?

At Orthopedic Specialists of North County (OSNC), our highly trained and skilled experts will assess each patient to determine whether PRP therapy will offer a benefit and be effective.  For patients in Escondido, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Vista and Oceanside in North County San Diego, OSNC offers comprehensive care to get you back on your feet and back in the game.


"The entire team at OSNC is great, very professional and took the time to put me at ease. And I only have praise for the Dr. Erik Stark, a wonderful doctor who never disappoints!" Patient of Dr. Erik Stark
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