What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) ?

Reference:Mishra AK et al Efficacy of platelet-rich plasma for chronic tennis elbow: a double-blind, prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial of 230 patients. Am J Sports Med. 2014 Feb;42(2):463-71.

de Vos RJ et al Strong evidence against platelet-rich plasma injections for chronic lateral epicondylar tendinopathy: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;48(12):952-6.

When there is a soft tissue injury, the body immediately delivers platelet cells to the area. Platelets have the healing factors that activate the tissue repair mechanisms.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is done by taking a small sample of the patient’s blood, then spinning it around in a centrifuge until the plasma, the platelets and the red blood cells are separated. Then only the platelet rich plasma is injected into the injured tissue. This is believed to strengthen the body’s instinct to naturally heal.

Although many sport doctors and athletes are into PRP injections, the evidence remains thin. The good news is no adverse effects have been reported. It only has a negative effect on your wallet (approx. $500).

So when patients ask me, should I try PRP? I ask them, can you afford it? It’s worth a try but there is no guarantee.

One RCT on 230 patients with chronic lateral epicondylar tendinopathy concluded that there was little benefit in PRP injections after 3 months but there was some benefit after 6 months.

Then again, a systematic review concludes,

“There is strong evidence that PRP injections are not efficacious in the management of chronic lateral elbow tendinopathy.” (de Vos et al 2014)

So before a patient spend hundreds of $$, they may wish to know the evidence thus far.

Posted on: October 11, 2015

Categories: Modalities / Meds / Supplements

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