What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a concentrated form of a person’s own blood that is injected into a specific area of pain or injury. PRP accelerates the healing process and encourages injured cells to repair and new healthy cells to grow. It is a safe method to treat acute, chronic pain from tendonitis, arthritis, torn muscles, or injured ligaments. PRP can be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other treatments.
Using Your Own Healing and Growth Factors
PRP is part of an exciting expansion into the use of biologics, or obtaining patients’ own healing and growth factors. It involves concentrating cells and re-introducing the concentrate into a specific area of need to reduce inflammation, support healing, and reduce pain.
Other examples of biologics being used at Brighton Foot and Ankle include bone marrow aspirate and cryopreserved placental tissue.
The Science of PRP
Normal blood is largely made up of a watery liquid called plasma, and a small percentage of working components called red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Each one of these components plays a different role in maintaining normal body function.
PRP treatment focuses on capturing and concentrating the platelet component of blood, which is best known for helping clot blood and stop bleeding. Platelets also contain vast amounts of growth factor proteins. It is these growth factor proteins that make PRP possible.
How PRP is Administered
Different types of PRP products are given as injections to repair heel injuries. To start, a small amount of blood is drawn from the arm just like any standard blood test. The blood is then processed by a centrifuge to separate plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
The desired combination of components is then retrieved. Dr. Castelein then injects the PRP into the area needed in the foot and ankle. This entire process occurs in the clinic and takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Protocols vary depending on the area of treatment and some cases require multiple injections.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma used to treat?
PRP is actively being researched and the indications of use continue to increase. It is best used for people with recurring pain that have attempted other treatments. Dr. Castelein uses PRP in his office to address four main treatments:
- Arthritis of the big toe, foot, and ankle
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tendonitis including to the Achilles and peroneal tendons
- Acute ligament and muscle injury to the foot, ankle, and leg
In-Office PRP Treatment
PRP is available at the Brighton Foot and Ankle office. Brighton Foot and Ankle uses the same equipment and processes as the large hospital networks in Michigan. This allows Dr. Castelein to achieve the same results in the operating room and his clinic.
Since PRP is a newer technique and research is actively expanding, most insurances do not cover the procedure. For this reason, Dr. Castelein will evaluate the patient’s history, symptoms, and prior treatments before pursuing PRP. During this consultation, expected benefit and course of treatments will also be discussed.