PRP Joint Injections Overview

According to the CDC, approximately 52.5 million American adults suffer from some form of osteoarthritis. This ‘wear and tear’ type of arthritis is a progressive joint condition that is typically associated with the knees, shoulder, hips and hands and is caused by degeneration of a joint’s articular cartilage. Because osteoarthritis has no cure and is progressive, many individuals living in the Denver, Vail and Aspen, Colorado area seek non-surgical treatment options to help eliminate the need for surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation. Dr. Matthew Provencher understands a patient’s desire to prolong or completely eliminate the need for surgery, so he continues to offer the latest in medical advances. One of these advancements is blood plasma treatment designed to accelerate soft tissue healing with the use of PRP joint injections.

The Cause of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of articular cartilage from overuse, a past injury or surgery to a joint or from the natural aging process. Articular cartilage is the white, smooth substance that covers the ends of each bone in the human body. This soft tissue plays an important role in overall joint health because it provides a pain-free gliding surface when the joints are in motion. As cartilage degenerates, bone begins to rub against bone, causing joint swelling, stiffness and chronic pain.

Blood Plasma Treatment with the Use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Human blood is composed of four main components including platelets, plasma, white blood cells and red blood cells. Ongoing and past clinical research has shown that platelets naturally move towards an injured area and release remarkable growth factors. Growth factors are naturally occurring proteins that help aid in the healing of soft tissue injuries involving tendons, ligaments and muscles.

The overall goal of blood plasma treatment is to help accelerate the body’s natural healing process before scar tissue has the ability to form. Scar tissue is a natural body reaction following an injury, but it is proven to slow, alter or even stop the healing process.

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Treating Osteoarthritis with PRP Joint Injections

Dr. Provencher utilizes PRP joint injections in certain patients to help reduce joint pain, swelling and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

Blood plasma treatment with the use of PRP injections begins by Dr. Provencher extracting approximately 15 milliliters of a patient’s own blood through a simple blood draw. The sample of blood is then spun in a special machine known as a centrifuge to separate the four main blood structures. Once separated, the platelet rich plasma is removed and then injected directly into the damaged joint, usually under ultrasound guidance. Once the concentrated platelets are injected, the growth factors will gravitate to the injured area and help accelerate the body’s healing process and ease troublesome osteoarthritis symptoms.

PRP joint injections are a fairly simple treatment compared to surgery. The majority of Dr. Provencher’s patients will require 1-3 sets of blood plasma treatment with each injection spaced 4-6 weeks apart.

If you live in the communities of Denver, Vail and Aspen, Colorado and would like more resources on blood plasma treatment through PRP joint injections, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Matthew Provencher.