Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP are a new form of injections using a patients blood (Autologous) to treat injuries. PRP Injections are offered by Geoff Davies at the Vale Healthcare Clinic in Cardiff.

The Arthrex ACP Double Syringe System is used to obtain platelet rich plasma (PRP) from a patient’s blood, which is then re-injected under ultrasound guidance to promote the healing of tendon scar tissue.

Tendinopathy (commonly know as tendonitis) occurs when tendons (bands of fibrous connective tissue connecting muscle to bone) become damaged, usually as a result of overuse or injury. Physiotherapy is used to treat damage to tendons in the first instance, but in cases where this healing process has failed, we can use the Double Syringe System to treat scars left on tendons that cause many people long-term problems.

The process involves blood being taken from the patient and re-injected around their affected tendon. Crucially, before the blood is re-injected it goes through an intense spinning technique called centrifugation to extract platelets from the blood. Platelets create growth factors and by increasing the concentration of these growth factors within a small sample of blood, we are able to promote healing in chronic cases.  The skill in this process is re-injecting the blood into the right areas to get the best result and we use ultrasound guidance to give us accuracy.

What is the Arthrex ACP Double Syringe System?

The Arthrex ACP Double Syringe System is used to obtain platelet rich plasma (PRP) from a patient’s blood, which is then re-injected under ultrasound guidance to promote the healing of tendon scar tissue.

How does the (autologous blood) injection work?

In recent years there have been rapid developments in the use of growth factors for accelerated healing of injury. Growth factors are released from the platelets which are found in the blood stream and influence the biological processes necessary for repair of soft tissues such as muscle, tendon and ligament following acute traumatic or overuse injury.

The best way of delivering higher doses of growth factors to injured tissue, is to inject at the site of an injury. The most commonly utilised techniques is known as autologous blood injection. Clinical trials in humans are very limited so far, but results are promising in terms of earlier return to play following muscle and particularly tendon injury.

Which conditions does this technique work for?

This treatment has been shown to be effective in treating stubborn injuries like tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis and knee tendonitis for athletes of all types. It appears to be a better option for problems that don’t have a great solution - it’s nonsurgical, safe and uses the body’s own cells to help it heal.

What happens if I have the treatment?

The procedure involves a doctor drawing blood from the patient. The patient’s blood is then placed in a centrifuge that rotates at high speed, separating red blood cells from the platelets that release proteins and other particles involved in the body’s self-healing process.

Once separated, the healing platelet cells from the red blood cells are then injected back into the patient’s injury. This then kick-start’s the body’s healing process, or at least accelerates it.

Can anyone have the treatment?

The use of growth factors in sports medicine is restricted under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) anti-doping code, particularly because of concerns regarding the potential for abuse as performance-enhancing agents. As of yet this treatment is still regarded as prohibitive by WADA in elite athletes.

More Information

Click here for the Vale Healthcare Patient Information Leaflet on PRP

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