This non-surgical procedure relieves chronic knee pain with an injection of the patient’s own blood platelets. The concentrated platelets promote the natural healing of damaged ligaments, cartilage and tendons.
Causes of Knee Pain
Injuries of the knee, the most commonly injured joint in the body, often involve the surrounding soft tissues, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Causes of knee pain include degeneration of the cartilage surface, and sprains or tears of the ligaments or tendons.
Collecting the Platelets
The PRP process begins when a sample of blood is taken from the patient and is separated into its components – platelets and white blood cells, plasma, and red blood cells. A portion of the plasma is removed. The patient’s concentrated platelets are mixed with the remaining plasma to form a concentrated solution. A syringe is filled with the solution.
Preparing the Knee
The knee is cleansed and sterilized. A local anesthetic may be applied to reduce pain at the injection site.
Administering the Injection
The needle is directed into the knee and then guided to the target area. The platelet rich plasma is injected into and around the damaged tissues. The physician may need to administer additional injections to other injured structures of the knee. This will help to ensure complete tissue healing and maximize joint stability.
The Body Reacts
The concentrated platelets release many growth factors that promote a natural immune response, mobilizing stem cells to the injured tissues. Macrophages – specialized white blood cells – rush in to remove damaged cells and prepare the tissue for healing.
The Healing Begins
Stem cells and other cells multiply, repair and rebuild the damaged tissue. This accelerated healing response reduces pain, promotes increased strength, and improves joint function.
The entire PRP treatment process takes about an hour – the patient will be able to go home the same day. Full recovery from the injection usually occurs within one week of the procedure. Many patients require three to four treatments before the injured tissues are completely healed and they return to a normal active lifestyle.