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Blood is mainly a liquid called plasma. It also contains small solid components of red cells, white cells, and platelets. The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
Platelet rich plasma is plasma with more platelets than is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets, and thereby the concentration of growth factors, can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual thus promoting greater healing.
To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from the patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. The concentration of platelets are then injected directly into the injured or diseased body tissue releasing growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells.
Side effects are uncommon, but they are possible. Any time a needle is inserted through the skin, infection can occur. The other more common side effect of PRP injections is an increase in inflammation and pain after the injection for a period of time before the benefits may be felt.
We know from laboratory studies that PRP can help increase certain growth factors that are important in the healing process. It has been shown to have some beneficial effects for tennis elbow, Achilles injuries, and even arthritis. Unfortunately, these studies have been for a relatively short duration. Therefore, insurance companies still consider the procedure experimental. However, there have been quite a number of success stories, and patients who have received good results felt it was well worth the investment for the relief they gained. As always, individual results will vary and not everyone will have the same level of success or benefit.
Because insurance does not currently cover the cost of PRP injections, our office does require payment prior to receiving the injections. Currently, PRP injections are only available in our Fort Dodge Clinic.
Call 515-955-6767 now to schedule an appointment to discuss this option with your provider.