There are hundreds of thousands of knee injuries reported in the US every year. Around 25% of these cases are comprised of adults, athletes, and patients with osteoarthritis. Their injuries are usually either sprains, muscle tears, or ligament tears.
Thankfully, medical advancements provide us with safe and effective ways to help treat these injuries. One of these advanced techniques is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which has been gaining popularity, especially in sports medicine.
What Is PRP Therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involves the use of the patient’s blood to formulate a solution for injection. As the procedure’s name suggests, doctors extract the platelet-rich plasma from this sample of blood. This injection helps regenerate damaged tissues and speeds up the healing process of knee injuries.
PRP therapy is a minimally invasive procedure favored by most sports doctors in treating athletes’ injuries. This therapy is also proven effective in stimulating hair growth and is now widely used in cosmetic procedures.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
Plasma is a biological carrier that speeds up the movement of platelets in the bloodstream. These platelets are responsible for boosting the healing process of damaged cells (these are responsible for blood clotting). Platelet-rich plasma, simply put, is plasma with more platelets than normal.
What Are The Benefits Of PRP Therapy?
PRP therapy is a revolutionary treatment for arthritis and sports injuries. This regenerative medicine treatment is one of the most favored pain management techniques available today. The procedure exponentially boosts the healing of the majority of muscular, skeletal, and soft-tissue injuries.
Other benefits provided by PRP therapy include:
- Helping patients avoid excessive intake of anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers
- Avoiding major surgeries and saving costs associated with these procedures
- Relieving chronic pain
- Mitigating the symptoms of progressive and degenerative diseases
What Happens During The Procedure?
First, doctors collect a blood sample from the patient. A centrifuge processes this sample to separate the plasma and platelets from the rest of the blood. Doctors then apply a local anesthetic to the affected area in preparation for the injection. Once the area is completely numb, they inject the platelet-rich plasma.
Doctors may inject the plasma into several points to ensure that the entire area is covered. In some cases, they may use an ultrasound to see that they are injecting into the correct area. Typically, a PRP therapy procedure only takes under an hour to complete.
After the procedure, the platelets will break down in the bloodstream and release growth factors. These compounds help in the repair and regeneration of the tissues and boost the body’s healing process.
What Are The Risks And Side Effects?
PRP therapy is a minimally-invasive treatment method that usually does not pose health risks and complications. Since the plasma injection is from the patient, the risk for infection is very low. The procedure is also quick and easy, making common treatment side effects uncommon. However, possible side effects include lightheadedness and bruising at the site of injection.
Who Are The Best Candidates For PRP Therapy?
Athletes are inevitably injured sometime in their careers. Commonly, these are injuries of the knees, muscles, and ligaments. PRP therapy is effective in the regeneration of the cells in these areas and in reducing inflammation and swelling. This procedure also minimizes the need for major surgeries that could inhibit them from being back on the field sooner.
Patients Sensitive To Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Doctors encourage this procedure for patients who do not show significant clinical improvement under NSAIDs. Studies show that the anti-inflammatory properties provided by PRP therapy are beneficial for these patients. PRP therapy also reduces the risk for overdependence on these medications that could lead to drug addiction.
Patients With Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition caused by the degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the joints. This cartilage deterioration causes friction, leading to inflammation and pain. OA usually affects the knees, hips, and spine. PRP therapy has been proven to provide pain relief in patients with early osteoarthritis.
Sports Doctor In Fort Lauderdale, Florida
PRP therapy is an effective way of alleviating pain and boosting the healing process of knee injuries. If you are interested in trying this procedure, consult with Dr. Paul Meli today!
Dr. Meli is one of the best board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons in South Florida. He has performed thousands of procedures since the 90s, specializing in knee and shoulder repair and sports medicine. His list of positive patient reviews attests to his quality of care.
To learn more about our specialties and services, check-in online or contact us at (954) 324-7711. You can also let us know you’re coming by securing a consultation through our online appointment request form. Come visit us and let us help you take your first step to wellness today!