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Health Tip: What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

(HealthDay News) -- PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy is a relatively new treatment for pain, the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine says.

It has shown promise, the association says, for treating ailments including osteoarthritis of the knee, shoulder, hip and spine; rotator cuff tears; chronic plantar fasciitis; and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

The association explains how the therapy works:

  • Doctors draw a sample of the patient's blood and place it in a centrifuge where it will be spun at high speeds to separate the platelets from other blood components.
  • The concentrated platelets are then injected back into the point of injury to jump-start the healing process.
  • The platelets initiate repair and attract the critical assistance of stem cells.
  • The injections take about 2 hours and can be done in a doctor's office.
  • Up to three PRP injections may be given within six months.
  • Improvement may be seen within a few weeks.
  • Ultrasound and MRI images have shown tissue repair after PRP therapy.
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