In the world of sports, when a player is injured and unable to play, championships may be lost. One treatment currently being used to get players back to their sport is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections. Athletes including Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chris Canty of the New York Giants have been treated with PRP to accelerate healing and return to play faster.
Jeffery Heftler, MD; Gloria Cohen, MD; Halina Snowball, MD and the ONS Foundation are currently studying the use of PRP injections to enhance tissue recovery for various soft tissue problems such as tennis elbow, hamstring strains, MCL strains and patellar tendonitis.
The procedure is fairly straightforward and quick. A syringe of the patient’s own blood is spun in a centrifuge separating out the platelets, which are rich in the body’s own growth factors. When injected back into the patient, these growth factors may help to accelerate healing and can be useful in repairing soft tissue injuries that would otherwise take longer to heal. While it is a new treatment and considered experimental and not FDA approved, it is a very low risk procedure. PRP Treatment has been used for a few years with good anecdotal success and very few downsides.
By closely monitoring each patient who receives PRP, physicians are able to identify which conditions will benefit most from the treatment. Since the material comes from the patient’s own body, there are no side effects from the injections. The treatment carries none of the risks of weakening surrounding tissue or increasing blood sugars that steroid injections have.
“… after my knee injury, the coach and I thought I was out for the wholeseason. After PRP treatment, I was back playing an entire game in 2½ weeks. Go docs!”
Eric Joyner, Varsity football player at King & Low-Heywood Thomas School