Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection is among one of the newest treatment in regenerative medicine. The aim is to use the body’s own natural growth factors/ healing power to repair tissues, thus enhancing the recovery of musculoskeletal tissues such as muscles, tendon, ligament, etc.
What is being injected?
Blood is made up of plasma, platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells. Plasma is made up of water, electrolytes, proteins and other antibodies. It is the largest component of blood and is the medium at which blood cells and platelets travel the circulatory system through. Platelets, on the other hand, carry out roles in clotting and healing of wounds.
Essentially, we are utilizing and enriching the reparative properties of the platelets, and activating them to repair our damaged tissues.
Blood will be drawn and placed in a centrifugal system where the platelets will be separated from the rest of the blood, and it will be concentrated and activated in an absolutely sterile system – hence the name platelet rich plasma (PRP), and it will be injected into target areas.
What can this procedure treat?
It is approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) Singapore for:
- Non-surgical treatment of Acute Muscle and Ligaments Injuries, for examples:
- Tennis elbow (Injuries of the common extensor origin)
- Golfer’s elbow (Injuries of the common flexor origin)
- Plantar fascia injuries/ tear with resultant plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendon injuries/ partial tear
- Ligament injuries of the knees/ ankles/ wrists
- Rotator Cuff muscle injuries of the shoulder
- Hamstring muscle injuries
- Quadricpes muscle injuries
2. Biological augmentation of Acute Achilles Tendon Repairs
Is it the same as Steroid (H&L) injections, I have read that it has multiple side effects.
No. PRP injection is completely different from Steroid (H&L) injections. PRP injections contained NO steroid at all.
Steroid used to be the mainstay of non-surgical Orthopaedic treatment as it contains a potent anti-inflammatory property, which is useful in providing relief of various orthopaedic problems, however, it does not possess any reparative/ regenerative potential. The same problem will usually recur after 3 months and the patients would be in pain again. Repeated steroid injections at the same area will then predispose the patients to rupture of tendons/ ligaments/ atrophy of skin (thinning of skin)/ infection. Steroid injection is also contra-indicated in the patellar tendon and Achilles Tendon as there is an abnormal higher risk of tendon rupture.
As mentioned before, platelet rich plasma has virtually 100% safety with 0% risk, it does not contain any steroids and would not cause any of the steroid side effects such as rupture of tendons/ ligaments/ atrophy of skin (thinning of skin)/ infection.
Can PRP injections be repeated?
Yes. PRP injections can be repeated and it’s safe! Usually for patient with high grade tears or chronic injuries ( >3 months), repeated PRP injections maybe needed – the healing effects of platelet rich plasma (PRP) are accumulative with no side effects to be anticipated.
Any side effects/ Risks?
It is virtually 100% safe (as long as it is done in a sterile and clean manner) because PRP injections is 100% autologous (the cells are extracted from your own blood, not from anyone else) – it’s impossible for your body to reject your own cells. And for the same reason, you don’t need to worry about contracting any unknown infectious diseases from unknown donors.