Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

Platelet Rich Plasma is an exciting new therapeutic procedure that has gained wide acceptance in both human and veterinary medicine. PRP utilizes the platelets from the patient's own blood to help stimulate healing. Platelets are small cells within the blood that help with many functions in the body. Usually associated with clotting, platelets also contain a variety of growth factors that interact with local cells to stimulate healing. By injecting PRP directly into damaged tendons and ligaments, we can help the body regenerate itself. At Winner's Circle Ranch, Dr. Shields always uses ultrasound guidance during the PRP injection to assure that the therapy is delivered directly into the site of injury.

For the PRP procedure we require a simple blood draw from your horse. The blood is then centrifuged in a special device that concentrates the platelets. The platelet rich portion of the blood is then harvested and injected into the lesion. The PRP injection is performed one to three times (every 7-10 days), all from the single blood draw. The number of injections is determined by the size and severity of the injury as well as the extent of healing noted between injections. Nothing (PRP, stem cells, scaffolds, etc.) should be injected into an injured area immediately after injury. The injured area should be iced or receive Game Ready therapy for about ten days post-injury prior to any therapeutic injection. This lag time prior to treatment is necessary to allow inflammation to subside in the injured tissue. Once harvested, PRP can be frozen for up to six months without any loss of beneficial effect. Some of the common applications for PRP therapy are tendon or ligament injuries, arthritis and severe wounds. PRP may be used successfully in combination with Stem Cell therapy.

Dr. Shields has performed numerous PRP procedures on injured tendons and ligaments during the past few years. While firm statistics have not yet been calculated, it appears that approximately 65% of the injured horses have successfully returned to racing. Studies have shown that with no treatment other than rest, only about 30-35% of horses with tendon or ligament injuries will return to racing.

Related Documents:

Article - Platelet Rich Plasma
By Dr. Don Shields

A Promising Treatment for Athletes, in Blood
By Alan Schwarz, The New York Times
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