What are Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Joint Injections?
It is reported more than three million Americans are diagnosed with osteoarthritis each year. This progressive joint condition can affect any joint in the human body, but is typically found in the hands, knees, hips, shoulder and spine. Many patients suffering from arthritis aim to prolong the need for a painful joint replacement surgery, so blood plasma treatment has become more popular as a non-surgical treatment option. Dr. Jervis Yau offers PRP joint injections to patients suffering from various forms of arthritis in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Articular cartilage is the smooth white substance covering the ends of each bone throughout the human body. The tissue is responsible for allowing the bones to rub against each other painlessly when the joint is in motion. Articular cartilage can begin to degenerate from the natural aging process, overuse of the joint or past trauma or surgery. As cartilage continues to break down, bone begins to rub against bone and causes chronic joint pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness. This bone-on-bone condition is called osteoarthritis.
What Does a Blood Plasma Treatment Do?
Blood plasma treatment, otherwise known as platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment, combines the latest medical technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself after an injury. Four components make up human blood – white blood cells, plasma, platelets and red blood cells. It has been proven that when activated within the body, platelets release healing proteins called growth factors. Growth factors have the ability to stimulate cellular growth and accelerate soft tissue healing. Blood plasma treatment is designed to release these growth factors directly into an injured area of the body to help accelerate the natural healing response.
Dr. Yau’s overall goal with PRP joint injections is to reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis, improve joint function and accelerate the body’s healing response to help slow the progression of arthritis.
How are PRP Joint Injections Performed?
PRP joint injections begin with Dr. Yau removing a small sample of blood from the patient, typically 15 milliliters. The blood sample is then spun in a special machine known as a centrifuge to separate the four main components of blood. Once the components are separated, the platelet rich plasma is removed. The plasma is then injected directly into the damaged joint in order to allow the growth factors to help facilitate healing.
Blood plasma treatment takes less than 15 minutes during an in-office visit with Dr. Yau. The majority of patients will require 1-3 PRP joint injections, with each treatment spaced at 4-6 week intervals. Since PRP is harvested from a patient’s own blood, the risk of complications is low. Dr. Yau will discuss the risks and benefits with each patient on an individual basis.
Do you live in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area and would like more resources on blood plasma treatment? Contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Jervis Yau to determine if PRP joint injections are a treatment option for you.