Injection therapy is sometimes used within the specialty of orthopedic surgery in order to help augment the treatment of joint pain and inflammation resulting from injury. It may also help increase a patient’s joint preservation or healing response after injury or surgery.
There are a few different types of injection therapy used which have achieved consistently positive results over the years. These include platelet-rich plasma therapy and hyaluronan injections. Some of the conditions which may be treated by injection therapy include: patellar tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis, ACL injuries, biceps tendinitis, golfer’s elbow, ligament injuries, osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, sports injuries, and tennis elbow.
To find out which treatment may be able to help you, contact the experts at Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine. You can schedule a consultation by calling us at 310.736.2793 for orthopedic services and sports medicine.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment
One of the most common forms of injection therapy is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Platelet-rich plasma is a type of therapy that has more recently become known because of its use by some famous professional athletes, including Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, to them heal and return to competition faster.
PRP consists of a special preparation of plasma, a component of blood, which contains a higher concentration of platelets than is found in normal blood. The concentration may vary, but it can be about five to ten times more than is typical. The theory behind using this treatment is that platelets contain certain natural substances known as growth factors, which help the healing process. The idea behind using PRP is to use the body’s natural healing elements to enhance normal healing after injury or surgery. The goal of using platelet-rich plasma is to use these growth factors to improve both healing time and success.
PRP therapy is individualized for each patient. Blood is drawn from the patient and put into a machine which separates the platelets from the other components, and then put into a centrifuge where their concentration is increased. When the PRP is reintroduced to the body, the injury site receives a concentrated dose of its own platelets and growth factors, which has been shown to lead to faster and more secure healing in many cases. PRP is often used to improve healing in a number of conditions, including:
- Ligament and muscle injuries and tears
- Chronic tendon injuries
- Knee arthritis
Read more about PRP injection therapy from AAOS.org.
Hyaluronan, or hyaluronic acid, refers to an organic substance found in the body’s normal joint fluid, which is used to cushion and lubricate the joints and surrounding tissues. While it is naturally present in the body, injections of hyaluronic acid can be useful to build up and augment the amount of useful hyaluronan in a particular joint or area of the body, and also provide relief for joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is platelet-rich plasma therapy safe?
A: These injections are generally well tolerated by patients. However, there is a low risk of minor complications such as pain, stiffness, and bruising at the injection site. As with any kind of injection, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, or nerve damage.
Q: How long does it take before hyaluronic acid injections begin to work?
A: The results of hyaluronan injections depend on each individual case. But in general, patients begin to see improvement in joint pain within two to six weeks, with the peak of relief sometimes occurring months after the treatment injections as the body begins to make good use of the helping treatment and nutrients.
Q: What are some factors that might disqualify me for platelet rich plasma treatment?
A: Those who suffer from cancer, anemia, low platelet count, abnormal platelet function, and certain infections are generally not considered good candidates for PRP treatment.
Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Doctor
Do you want to find out more about how certain biological enhancements such as injection therapy can speed your healing time and get you feeling better faster? Contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine to set up your appointment with Steven W. Meier, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and joint preservation specialist. Our office number is 310.736.2793. Please call us today!
Next, learn about how hyaluronic acid injection therapy helps with certain joint disorders.