Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP therapy) is a treatment that stimulates the body’s natural healing process to repair damaged soft tissues, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Platelet-rich plasma is plasma with a high concentration of platelets. Plasma is the main liquid component of blood; platelets are one of many cell fragments within blood that contain proteins and growth factors that help our blood to clot and injuries to heal.
To produce platelet-rich plasma we take a small amount of blood and spin it in a centrifuge. This separates the blood into layers: the red blood cells move to the bottom, while the platelets and plasma rise to the top. The plasma can then be carefully injected into damaged tissues to accelerate healing.
PRP therapy can be used to treat inflammatory conditions that affect your soft tissues, including osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and resistant trochanteric bursitis. It’s particularly well suited to helping acute injuries to heal, for example sports injuries.
Mr Shah provides PRP therapy to treat the whole musculoskeletal system, including hips, knees, ankles, elbows and shoulders.
Because it’s a non-surgical procedure, PRP therapy can sometimes offer a welcome alternative to more invasive surgical treatments such as arthroscopy. It’s usually considered after trying conservative treatments like rest, physiotherapy, medication and cortisone injections.
PRP therapy can also be used post-surgery to help ensure a swift recovery. Some athletes have attributed a quick return to competition to PRP therapy – both Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal have had treatment.
Mr Shah will start by drawing around 10ml of your blood. This is then spun in a centrifuge until the platelets separate out, allowing us to collect the platelet-rich plasma.
This is then injected into the damaged area, along with a local anaesthetic to minimise any potential discomfort. The whole process is carried out as an outpatient and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
You might experience some discomfort just after the procedure and you’ll need to rest for the first couple of days. We may recommend some physiotherapy sessions to help your recovery.
You should see an improvement within 2–6 weeks. Sometimes a short course of PRP therapy will be recommended for the best result. Unlike cortisone injections, which only achieve temporary relief, the results of PRP therapy are usually long lasting because we’re actively healing your soft tissues.