Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-Rich Plasma is a product that is believed to have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that PRP is most effective at treating tendonitis, including Achilles tendonitis, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow). PRP has also seen some scientific success treating knee arthritis.
There are several commercial devices that create different PRP mixtures, but the basic method for making PRP is the same for every device. Your own blood is drawn into a tube. That tube is then centrifuged, which is a process that separates blood contents into visible layers. The top layer is the plasma, the middle layer (buffy coat) contains white blood cells (as well as anti-inflammatory and growth factors), and the bottom layer contains red blood cells. The plasma portion is removed and then the buffy coat is drawn into another tube and injected right away. PRP’s results are variable, especially in arthritis. PRP injections are not covered by insurance or Medicare.