Non-Surgical Solutions for Treating Pain
Dr. Philip Lim's Medical Musculoskeletal Clinic

Platelet Rich Plasma

What is platelet rich plasma (PRP)?

  • Essentially, PRP is plasma with a higher concentration of platelets compared to whole blood. Platelets contain many different growth factors that support the healing process.
  • There are many uses of PRP such as dental implantations, surgery and treatment of severe burns.  In musculoskeletal medicine, PRP can accelerate healing of
    • tendon tears
    • ligament laxity sprains
    • joint osteoarthritis
  • The use of PRP as an injectant in prolotherapy treatment (refer to prolotherapy section) is now accepted as a superior stimulant compared to dextrose.

How does PRP work?

  • PRP is developed from patient blood, so is inherently safe and free of transmissible diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
  • Within PRP, the platelets deliver a number of growth factors in their biological ratios compared to recombinant growth factors engineered in laboratory.
  • In addition PRP contains cell adhesion molecules, which makes a natural fibrin glue.
  • PRP stimulates the formation of tri-dimensional mesh-fibrin strands, creating a framework for healing.
  • Other benefits include stem cell proliferation and differentiation, chemoattraction and migration of macrophages and stem cells.

The Procedure

  • Usually a standard 30 min session is sufficient to carry out the procedure.
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound may be required to determine the site of injection as well as for needle guidance.
  • Local anesthetic in the form of 1% local anaesthetic is injected to the skin to alleviate any unnecessary pain for the actual PRP injection.
  • Do not take anti-inflammatory medication for a week after the procedure and reducing your activities for the same period can only aid your healing process.
  • The procedure may cause some localized discomfort for up to 48 hours. Paracetemol or Codeine is recommended if you need medication.