Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

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).

What is PRP?

Platelets are one of the components of human blood, and 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.

Does PRP work?

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.

What does PRP treat?

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, knee, or small joint arthritis)
  • Ligament, Tendon and muscle injury

Is PRP the same as Stem Cell Therapy?

Some websites call PRP treatment “Stem Cell” treatment, however PRP is completely different to Stem Cell Therapy.

What does treatment involve?

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. Depending on the condition being treated, the procedure may include fenestration (using a needle to repetitively enter an injured tendon, to enhance the healing response).

Precision injection techniques are important to success of the procedure. PRP should be administered under ultrasound guidance by a skilled practitioner. We are among the most experienced and skilled point of care ultrasound (POCUS) clinicians in New Zealand, using state of the art equipment.

PRP 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.

How do I make an appointment?

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.

We are now able to offer PRP at substantially reduced cost.

  • We are now able to offer PRP (single injection) at a cost of $600. If more than one injection is administered at the same session (that is, more than one body site treated), the cost is $400 for each additional injection
  • The above cost covers the procedure only and not a clinical consultation
  • The condition being treated must have been diagnosed by a health professional. For this reason a referral is required, giving details of the diagnosis, and results of investigations and treatment to date. This way, we can be certain the treatment is appropriate for your condition
  • If it is unclear if PRP is right for you (for example, if the diagnosis is not clear), a consultation may still be required. There would be a separate cost for this, and you would be advised of this prior to being seen.
  • Depending on your initial response, up to 2 further treatments may be recommended (there is no obligation to proceed with these).
  • Payment is required at the time of treatment.