Plasma-Rich Platelet Injections
Ultrasound image showing injection in the shoulder for rotator cuff tear
Platelet activation is a key step in promoting soft-tissue healing. Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are an alternate non-surgical treatment to steroidal injections and can be performed in the office or clinic with ultrasound-guidance to ensure precise placement of the injection.
PRP injections are prepared in the clinic by drawing blood from the patient. The patient’s own blood is used for the source of platelets. The vial of blood is placed in a centrifuge and spun to separate the platelets from the rest of the blood components.
The blood separates into platelet-poor plasma, a platelet-rich layer, and a layer of red blood cells. The platelet-rich layer contains activated platelets at a high concentration and is then injected into the painful area.
While the procedure may be performed in the clinic, it is not immediately available and must be made ready in advance. Few insurers cover PRP injections, so patients must pay out of pocket.
The injection may provide more intermediate to long-term relief (2 months –1 year) as opposed to the short-term relief of steroidal injections.