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Dr. Matthew Pifer -  - Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon

Dr. Matthew Pifer

Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon & Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon located in Santa Barbara, CA

You may have heard of platelet-rich plasma or PRP, but might be wondering if this treatment option is right for you. Matthew Pifer, MD, includes PRP therapy in his orthopedic practice in Santa Barbara, California, and can help you understand how this approach can enhance your body’s natural healing abilities. Schedule a face-to-face consultation online or by phone today to learn more.


What is platelet-rich plasma?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a solution created from a small volume of your blood. Understanding the composition of your blood is a great way to understand why PRP is such a powerful treatment.

Your blood plasma contains proteins and liquids, and solids like red and white blood cells, and platelets. Your platelets are responsible for your blood’s clotting ability and are also filled with special proteins called growth factors. 

When isolated and reintroduced into your plasma, those platelets can go to work, enhancing new cell development and reducing joint inflammation. This preparation is comprised of 94%  platelets and yields 5-10 times more growth factors than the same volume of normal blood. 

Platelet-rich plasma is a biologic treatment, meaning it derives from a living source, which in this case, is you. Biologics stimulate your natural healing ability, helping your body function as intended. 

How is PRP made?

The PRP process begins with a simple blood draw, similar to having blood work done for your routine physicals. That sample is then spun at a high rate of speed in a device called a centrifuge, which separates the liquids from the solids. 

The platelets are then mixed back into the now-cleared plasma, creating the PRP solution. It’s drawn into syringes and ready for injection into the site of joint damage. 

Where can PRP injections be beneficial?

Platelet-rich plasma has been shown to be effective in treating numerous joint health conditions. Some potential applications of PRP include treatment of:

  • Tennis or golfer’s elbow
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Patellofemoral pain
  • IT band syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Knee pain

Ongoing research supports the use of PRP in many joint health applications, and some research suggests PRP therapy can delay joint replacement surgery. Dr. Pifer can discuss how this approach aligns with your specific set of needs and guides you toward the treatment path that’s right for you. 

Are PRP injections safe?

One of the reasons PRP therapy is so popular is the ability to achieve noticeable improvements in joint health without more invasive and potentially risky procedures. Because PRP is created from your blood, there is no risk of rejection or adverse effects. 

Your body recognizes PRP as a natural, safe substance. As the solution goes to work, reducing inflammation and stimulating new cell development, pain often lessens, and your joint begins to move more freely. 

Any time the surface of your skin is breached, there is a risk of infection, and PRP injections are no exception. However, when PRP injections are performed by a skilled professional like Dr. Pifer, the risk of complications is very low. 

Learn more about PRP and the role it can play in improving your joint health during a one-on-one consultation with Matthew Pifer, MD, which can be booked online or over the phone.