Platelet-rich plasma therapy, sometimes called PRP therapy or autologous conditioned
plasma (ACP) therapy, attempts to take advantage of the blood’s natural healing
properties to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, or even bone.
Although not considered standard practice, a growing number of people are turning to
PRP injections to treat an expanding list of orthopedic conditions, including
osteoarthritis. It is most commonly used for knee osteoarthritis, but may be used on
other joints as well.
When treating osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma, a doctor injects PRP directly into
the affected joint. The goal is to:
● Reduce pain
● Improve joint function
● Possibly slow, halt, or even repair damage to cartilage
Platelet-rich plasma is derived from a sample of the patient’s own blood. The
therapeutic injections contain plasma with a higher concentration of platelets than is
found in normal blood.
What is plasma?
Plasma refers to the liquid component of blood; it is the medium for red and white blood
cells and other material traveling in the blood stream. Plasma is mostly water but also
includes proteins, nutrients, glucose, and antibodies, among other components.
What are platelets?
Like red and white blood cells, platelets are a normal component of blood. Platelets
alone do not have any restorative or healing properties; rather, they secrete substances
called growth factors and other proteins that regulate cell division, stimulate tissue
regeneration, and promote healing. Platelets also help the blood to clot; a person with
defective platelets or too few platelets will bleed excessively from a cut.