Your blood is made up of many components, one component which is essential to healing are the platelets. Within the platelets are growth factors, which can initiate tissue repair, bone regeneration, development of new blood vessels, and stimulation of the healing process. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrated solution of your own body’s platelets. By concentrating your platelets we are able to increase the amount of growth factor in the solution to optimize healing.
Platelets are a specialized type of blood cell. Blood is made up of 93% red cells (RBCs), 6% platelets, 1% white blood cells (WBCs), and plasma. The goal of PRP is to maximize the number or concentration of platelets while minimizing the number of RBCs. Generally speaking, the higher the concentration of platelets, the better.
Most people associate platelets with clot formation. While that certainly is an important function of platelets, they are also very much involved in injury healing. Human platelets are naturally extremely rich in connective tissue growth factors. Injecting these growth factors into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints stimulates a natural repair process. But in order to benefit from these natural healing proteins, the platelets must first be concentrated. In other words, PRP recreates and stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
In the office, blood is drawn from the patient (just like getting a blood test) and placed in a special centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the RBCs, and the remaining platelets and plasma are then highly concentrated. The red blood cells are discarded, and the resulting platelet concentrate is used for treatment.
Unlike many other practices, at Omaha Pain Physicians all of our PRP injections are given under direct ultrasound guidance to insure accurate placement of the platelet concentrate in the damaged area.
The entire treatment, from blood draw, to solution preparation, to injection, takes 30-40 minutes. Before injections are given the skin and underlying tissue is first anesthetized to minimize the discomfort.