Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Improved Healing
Dr. Masaru Furukawa: PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma injections. The concept is to take a patient's own blood products and separate out the healing factors from their blood and injecting it back into the injured tissue. Healing factors are growth factors that are stored in platelets that are in everybody's blood. We use PRP when people are not responding to the usual non-invasive therapist, such as physical therapy and rest.
Our body has an innate ability to heal in general, and our blood is the way we move those healing factors to the injured tissue. We're just helping that process along by injecting the healing factors directly into the injured tissue. There are certain types of tissues that have poor circulation, such as tendons, and that's why it's most effective when injecting those growth factors or healing factors directly into the tendons.
Typically, we have patients come in. In the first half of the visit, we draw blood and process the blood to extract the healing factors. I do most of my injections under ultrasound guidance to get the best accuracy. After the injection, since we are injecting healing factors, there's a bit of an inflammatory response, so some people are a little more sore after the injections, but after a couple of days, they're starting to feel better.
The most important part about PRP is continuing with physical therapy, so teaching the healing tendon to heal appropriately with the help of the PRP. In terms of the response, it can vary widely. I have people come in within the week of the injection feeling better, but most of the studies would show that the healing process may take up to several weeks to months and even up to a year. This is still considered an experimental therapy, so not very many people offer it, but we offer it to many people here.
What's great about PRP is we're using the patient's own blood products, so aside from the usual adverse effects of any injection, there's every little side effects from the PRP injections.
River Valley Clinic
436 Sunrise Drive
Spring Green, WI 53588