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What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a biologic tool that can be used to treat certain chronic and acute sports injuries. Some common conditions that may respond well to PRP include osteoarthritis and injuries that affect the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, or ankle. PRP can also be used to treat strains and tears in the calf muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as other soft-tissue injuries.

How does PRP work?

The goal of platelet-rich plasma therapy is to harness the healing power of platelets, a type of blood cell that contains natural growth factors that can assist in cellular repair. Studies show that the injection of a high concentration of platelets into damaged tissue can potentially promote healing. The treatment process involves:

  • Obtaining a sample of a patient’s own blood
  • Processing the blood in a rapidly rotating machine (centrifuge) to separate the platelets from the other blood cells
  • Creating the appropriate concentration of platelets based on the patient’s needs
  • Injecting the platelets directly into the targeted injury site

How soon after PRP can an athlete return to play?

A patient’s timeline for returning to activity can vary depending on the reason the platelet-rich plasma therapy was performed. For instance, a muscle tear may require several weeks to fully heal, while chronic tendon injuries may take 3-6 months to improve. Usually, a physician will recommend a period of complete rest – and possibly immobilization – following a PRP injection. In general, the return-to-play decision is based on repeat examinations, and possibly repeat ultrasounds.

If you’d like to learn more about platelet-rich plasma therapy, you can schedule a personal consultation with an orthopedic specialist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, today. We have several state-of-the-art sports medicine centers located throughout the Houston, TX, area.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Houston TX
PRP Therapy Houston TX
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