PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, and has been in use for decades to promote healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints (including arthritis).
Platelets are one of the components of human blood, and are important in blood clotting. However, they also contain proteins called growth factors that are important in the healing of injuries. To produce PRP, a sample of blood is taken and centrifuged (spun) to separate the various components. The part that contains concentrated platelets is removed – this is the ‘Platelet Rich Plasma’.
Then, using Ultrasound to ensure precise placement, the painful structure is injected with PRP. The platelets then become ‘activated’, and release their growth factors into the injured tissue to promote a healing response.
If you do a Google search for PRP, you’ll find thousands of websites and studies on PRP – these vary in both quality and conclusions, and unsurprisingly, opinions on the effectiveness of PRP vary.
Essentially, the state of play regarding research around PRP is this: Many studies demonstrate that PRP is effective in the treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. However, despite extensive use around the world, there remains debate in the medical literature as to just how effective PRP is. In part, this is because there is so much variability in the way PRP is prepared and administered, making it difficult to compare studies to reach definitive conclusions.
Read some recent research here
We offer PRP as a treatment option for acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Examples of these include:
Chronic tendon pain (such as achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, hip and shoulder tendon pain and plantar fasciitis)
Osteoarthritis (for example, hip or knee arthritis)
Ligament, Tendon and muscle injury
Following an explanation of the procedure, we’ll obtain your consent to proceed. 10-20ml of blood will be drawn from your arm, and from this, a few mls of PRP will be prepared.
The condition requiring treatment will be assessed using ultrasound, and depending on the condition, local anaesthetic may be used to numb the area.
Using ultrasound to ensure precise injection, the PRP is then injected into the abnormal part. The procedure may include fenestration (using a needle to repetitively enter the injured tendon, to enhance the healing response).
It needs time to work! So, depending on the condition treated, you may be advised to (for example) wear a sling, or avoid strenuous activity for a short period of time, and then gradually build up activity levels.
You can opt for a single injection, but often up to 3 over a few months is best for the condition.
PRP is performed on referral from your health professional. That way we can understand full details about your condition. Ideally, the diagnosis needs to be clearly established so that we can determine if PRP is appropriate. If a diagnosis is not clear, a separate consultation may be recommended (Separate fees may apply. In certain situations this may be funded by ACC).
If your Health Professional wishes to contact us to find out if PRP might benefit you, they can ring us anytime.
On receipt of a referral we will contact you to make an appointment.
The first injection is $700.
Depending on your initial response, up to 2 further injections may be offered. Subsequent injections to the same site are $600 each, and must be given within 6 months.