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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): The New Cortisone Shot

Platelet-Rich Plasma, aka. PRP, has been used in high profile athletes for over a decade to heal acute sports-related injuries. Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Tiger Woods, and Steph Curry are just a few of the famous athletes that have benefited from PRP injections over the years. In fact, doctors have been using PRP therapy to help the body heal itself since the late 90’s! It wasn’t until the famous athletes began getting it that the general public and the medical community, in general, took an interest.

Healing Tissue Damage

When body tissue is damaged, special chemicals are released by the damaged tissue. These chemicals serve as signals to the body that damage has occurred and needs immediate repair. The first cells that respond to an area of tissue damage are platelets. Platelets serve 2 vital functions: First, they clump together to form a clot that stops any bleeding. Then, the platelets in the clump release powerful growth factors. These growth factors stimulate the body to send in stem cells, white blood cells, plasma proteins, and other factors necessary to start wound healing. There are literally hundreds of different platelet-related growth factors that have been discovered. Please visit NeoGenix Stem Cells website for more detailed information on how PRP works.

The Science Behind PRP

Decades ago, scientists and some pioneering physicians discovered that putting a concentrated amount of platelets into a wound helped the wound heal faster than normal. Over the last 2 decades of refinement and research, the methods of obtaining and preparing PRP have become streamlined and more effective. Now, PRP is a mainstay of regenerative medicine treatment. It is safe, effective, and has virtually no side effects, and has even been shown to be superior to cortisone for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Studies have shown that cortisone injections can actually damage cartilage inside joints, and cortisone has other side effects such as elevating blood sugar, thinning of the skin, easy bruising, poor wound healing, and many more. More and more doctors and patients are choosing PRP over cortisone for acute and chronic musculoskeletal complaints.

Uses of PRP

PRP is an excellent first choice for treatment for patients with very mild degenerative arthritis. It is also useful for partial tendon tears like rotator cuffs, patellar tendons, Achilles’ tendons, and more. It can also be used to heal muscle tears and partially torn ligaments. It can be used in small joints like thumbs and wrists and facet joints in the spine. Please learn more about our Charlotte stem cell treatment options to learn more about treatment areas where PRP is most effective.

Getting PRP

PRP is obtained through a simple blood draw. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge and the platelet-rich plasma is collected and concentrated into a syringe. No drugs or chemicals are added, save for a naturally-occurring anticoagulant to keep the specimen from clotting in the syringe during processing. Your own blood is used for this and not anyone else’s. The only people that should not have PRP treatment are patients with certain types of blood disorders like leukemia or patients with abnormalities of platelet number or function, most of which are easily diagnosed by routine lab testing.


PRP is considered mainstream, standard of care treatment nowadays. It is so safe and effective that is it useful for treating most kinds of acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. It is rapidly replacing cortisone as the first-line treatment because of its lack of side effects.

Dr. James Altizer
Dr. James Altizer has been performing stem cell therapy treatments in North Carolina since January of 2016. Dr. Altizer received expert training from recognized leaders in the regenerative medicine field, including training on bone marrow aspiration with Duke University-affiliated physicians. He has performed thousands of stem cell and growth factor procedures, more than any other medical doctor in the Carolinas.