Platelet Therapy

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

Public awareness has grown in the last 3 years with celebrity use of PRPT by Super bowl winners, baseball stars and Professional golfers. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) has been used in medicine for more than 30 years and specifically in the treatment of pain for some 15 years. Our clinic has been using it for 12 years. We treat about 25% of our pain patients with PRP at some point in their treatment program.

At NPG we often start with Prolo and move to PRP

The excellent results seen with Prolotherapy are augmented with PRP. PRP is especially effective with conditions that have advanced degeneration, cartilage damage and “senior” joints that are "reluctant" to heal–such as with osteoarthritic hips, knees and shoulders. PRP is used for chronic neck and low back pain. When a joint is has swelling and acute pain we often use 1-3 prolotherapy session first to decrease the inflammation and improve joint strength then start the PRP for greater effectiveness and also cost savings.

How PRPT Works

Injecting platelets into injured tissue reawakens the body's healing capacity. Platelets normally migrate to the location of acute trauma and stimulate healing. The difficulty is that ligaments, joint capsules and cartilage have a very poor blood supply preventing platelet migration to them,hence injecting PRP provides a new type of healing.

When platelet rich plasma is injected, the platelets attach to injured collagen fibers and then release healing proteins called growth factors that initiate and activate a healing cascade of tissue. In short, they are the body's response to trauma. PRP is a virtual cocktail of various proteins that collectively stimulate tissue repair and regeneration.

Platelet-derived growth factors offer the following medical benefits:

  • Stem Cell Attractant: PRP attracts stem cells to an injury to optimize the healing process;
  • Vascular growth factors stimulate new blood vessels;
  • Epithelial growth factors stimulate new tissue;
  • Transforming growth factors stimulate ligament, tendon, cartilage and joint capsule healing;
  • cellular adhesion molecules create a structural matrix for new connective tissue, bone, and epithelial cells.

The Treatment Process

Blood is drawn as if for a blood test. The tube contains a small amount of anticoagulant. The blood is centrifuged in a standardized process that separates and concentrates the platelets.

The resulting autologous platelet concentrate is injected into ligaments, tendons, and joints in the same manner as Prolotherapy. The level of discomfort with the injection is similar to Prolotherapy. There is a warming feeling after the injection.

Upon injection, the platelets release the growth factors into the tissue. The growth factors immediately bind to receptor sites on the cell membranes of ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bone. This begins the healing response by inducing collagen formation, cellular matrix proliferation, and cartilage stimulation. These growth factors also stimulate blood vessel growth into the region, thus improving circulation to the area of chronic pain.

This accelerated healing continues even after the initial burst of growth factors as the injected platelets continue to live for three to five days in which to secrete additional growth factors. 


For those conditions that Dr. Cronin recommends PRPT, he generally starts with one to three regular Prolotherapy treatments to initiate the healing process and decrease inflammation followed by 2-3 PRP treatments. In some cases Prolotherapy may be used for some maintanance treatments. PRPT may be repeated a second cyle for joints with more severe degeneration if necessary. 


Go to ASK Dr. Cronin for a free phone consult about your condition and the use of Platelet Therapy. 

For research on PRP, go to the Prolotherapy Research Webpage.

Note: Definitions are a compilation of information from Wikipedia.


Transforming Growth Factor:

used to describe two classes of polypeptide growth factors, TGFα and TGFβ.

Cellular Adhesion Molecules:

proteins located on a cell's surface that are involved in binding with other cells or with the extracellular matrix in a process called cell adhesion. Essentially, cell adhesion molecules help cells stick to each other and to their surroundings.

Stem Cell Attractant:

mobilizes stem cells, stimulates them to migrate to the injection site and then activates them.


derived or transferred from the same individual's body, such as an autologous blood donation.

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