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Platelet-Rich Plasma injections in Calgary?

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Platelet-Rich Plasma injections in Calgary, or PRP, is a regenerative therapy that stimulates growth of tissue, effectively healing damaged or injured tendons, ligaments and cartilage. During a PRP treatment, one of our naturopathic doctors, Dr. Scott, will draw 40-80ml of blood, put it through a specialized centrifuge and extract the concentrated platelet solution. This solution contains on average 5-9x the concentration of platelets in whole blood.


There are many different centrifuge systems and methods of extracting platelets. Not all of these systems give you high enough concentration of platelets, and not all will give you accurate, reproducible samples. The centrifuge and extraction process used at Action has been tested against other systems and found to consistently provide a higher quality product, to guarantee that we are delivering the best product for the best outcomes. When it comes to PRP, it is the concentration that makes the difference in treatment results.

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On top of using one of the top tier systems for PRP extraction, we go another step by activating the platelets prior to injection. Naturally, collagen at the site of injection will activate the platelets to start secreting growth factors, however there is a way to pre-activate them prior to the injection so the platelets are primed and active as soon as they get to the target tissues. This is important, because when we inject and area the fluid doesn't just stop there, it will diffuse to adjacent areas as well, so we want the healing process to start as quickly as possible once the solution gets into the target area.


PRP is used to treat musculoskeletal injuries and conditions where there is tissue damage. Some common conditions include:

Rotator cuff injuries
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Osteoarthritis (hip, knee, shoulder, etc)
Spinal facet degeneration
Ankle sprain/tear (ATFL tear)
Ligament sprains and tears
Tendon strains and tears
Chronic joint pain
Patellar tendinitis


PRP is largely considered a safe, low risk procedure, when considering the alternative of surgery. Though very safe, there are risks that come with PRP. There likely will be some pain associated with the procedure itself, and some pain flare up afterwards. In most people this fades during the first week post injection, though you may want to refrain from intense exercise for a couple weeks after the treatment. There may be a risk of infection, though we take all the necessary precautions to avoid this. Depending on the area injected, there may be varying degrees of risk associated with sensitive anatomical structures. Our naturopathic doctor will go through all these risks in your appointment, prior to beginning the treatment.


Corticosteroid injections are often an initial medical treatment for many joint injuries, though they can potentially do more harm than benefit. Cortisone injections treat pain by decreasing inflammation, but if treated beyond 3 injections, there is the potential for them to weaken tissues, increasing chance of re-injury. PRP on the other hand, stimulates the production of collagen, effectively healing tissue and working towards preventing further re-injury. Overall, PRP treats the cause of pain, whereby corticosteroids mask the pain.

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Though many people may benefit from even a single injection, most injuries require a series of 3-6 injections. The length of time to see positive outcomes varies from patient to patient, and is difficult to estimate. Treatments are done 6-12 weeks apart, and you can expect to notice changes at about 6 weeks, and significant improvements about 3-4 months after injections.


Platelets contain many growth factors (platelet-derived growth factors, or PDGFs, TGF-beta, among others) that promote the production of soft tissues (ligament, tendons, cartilage), promote bone growth, and production of blood vessels. The latter is very important when considering treating poorly vascularized tissues, such as labral tears. When platelets are activated, either pre-injection in the syringe or by collagen at the target tissues, they start secreting these growth factors that stimulates soft tissue production, and to some extent, bone and vessel growth. Depending on the target tissue, we may include or exclude white blood cells (WBCs) in the injection. When injecting into a joint for osteoarthritis, we want a low WBC count, which actually has an anti-inflammatory effect. This is important, because this preparation provides platelets for the growth of damaged tissue, while decreasing chronic inflammation that may be worsening the arthritic tissue.

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