Platelet-Rich Fibrin: The Emerging Treatment for Musculoskeletal Injuries

Published on: Aug 29, 2023 / Last Updated on: Aug 29, 2023 / REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
Platelet-Rich Fibrin: The Emerging Treatment for Musculoskeletal Injuries

In the United States, an alarming number of individuals go through daily life suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and conditions such as arthritis, knee injuries, and back pain, leading to physical disability and constant visits to physicians. Luckily, there are many effective and versatile approaches available to manage pain and enhance functionality. However, traditional treatment methods are not always successful, especially with more complicated conditions.

One modern advancement in medical technology is autologous treatments, which are treatments that use the body’s own healing factors to stimulate growth and healing in a targeted area. Stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are two common examples. Today, we are going to look at the counterpart of PRP, platelet-rich fibrin (PRF). This article will explain how this more advanced platelet therapy has shown promise in becoming a standard treatment method for musculoskeletal injuries.

What is Platelet-Rich Fibrin?

Platelet-rich fibrin is the name for the end result of a process called centrifugation. A blood sample is taken from the patient and placed in a vial. The vial is then put in a device called a centrifuge which is used to spin it at high speeds, typically 2700 rpm for 12 minutes. After spinning it in the centrifuge, a fibrin clot will appear in the middle of the tube containing the platelet-rich substance. It is then injected back into the targeted area as a normal musculoskeletal injection.


Platelet-rich plasma and platelet-rich fibrin follow essentially the same procedure with a few minor adjustments. Contrary to PRP, PRF does not use an anticoagulant to prepare the vial. This means that there are no artificial biochemical substances used in the process of preparing PRF, making it a 100% all-natural treatment.

The final result of PRF has also been shown to contain more growth factors than PRP. When comparing the growth factors between PRP and PRF, studies found that the levels of basic fibroblast growth factor in PRF were significantly higher than that in PRP. Overall, they found that PRP is better suited for the fast delivery of growth factors, while PRF is better suited for long-term growth factor release.

While PRF is not definitely the better treatment, there are certainly many advantages for specific conditions. Studies show that neither PRP nor PRF can be favored in every scenario since they have unique qualities that make them better suited for certain fields of medicine. However, due to PRF’s simpler preparation, it is more likely to produce consistent results than PRP.

Musculoskeletal Injection Therapy

patient being treated with prf injection

The main area where PRF excels is with musculoskeletal injection therapy. Musculoskeletal injections have been widely used in rheumatological practice for over half a century. While the effectiveness of these injections has been well supported by decades of practical evidence, recent studies have provided further proof of their effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal conditions and alleviating pain.

Some standard musculoskeletal injections include Corticosteroid injections and Viscosupplementation injections. Corticosteroid injections are used to alleviate inflammation and relieve pressure on joints. Recent studies also show that corticosteroids can also inhibit the formation of prostaglandins which are common contributors to musculoskeletal pain. Corticosteroids are used to provide pain/inflammation relief, mostly aiding in the recovery of mobility.

Viscosupplementation injections are also used to improve mobility and help facilitate recovery. They use a naturally occurring substance, hyaluronic acid, to aid in retaining moisture and lubricating joints. Similar to Corticosteroids, the primary goal is to reduce pain and improve mobility enough to aid in the recovery process, usually employing a foundation of physical therapy or surgery.

Here’s where platelet-rich fibrin stands apart from traditional treatments. The abundant growth factors in PRF assist the natural healing processes that occur after an orthopedic injury. The regenerative qualities of PRF can significantly aid tissue repair, greatly speeding up the recovery process.

PRF for Orthopedic and Muscle Injuries

Finding the right treatment for muscle-related injuries has remained a significant clinical challenge for decades. Traditional healing methods often prove inadequate, which raises interest in the potential of platelet-rich fibrin to aid in muscle recovery. The process of muscle healing and the crucial role of growth factors in this context have been subject to intensive research.

One study found that by concentrating these essential growth factors, PRF demonstrates its ability to stimulate the necessary cellular events responsible for muscle repair and regeneration. Using two groups of subjects with muscle strain injuries, they found that the recovery time of the subjects treated with PRF was reduced to 16.6 days compared to 22.3 days in subjects treated with traditional anti-inflammatory treatments.

PFR for Cartilage Injuries

Over the past decade, platelet-rich fibrin has emerged as a highly promising non-operative procedure in the realm of cartilage injury treatment. In healthy cartilage, chondrocytes play a vital role as the sole cell type responsible for producing the cartilaginous matrix. A study revealed that FB scaffolds mixed with PRF displayed a remarkable ability to promote chondrocyte proliferation and re-differentiation, showing that the presence of PRF further enhanced these regenerative processes. This finding opens doors to exciting possibilities in the field of cartilage tissue regeneration, offering hope for the development of advanced therapeutic approaches that can revolutionize cartilage injury treatment.


If you're considering PRF injections, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against other types of treatments in order to choose what’s best for you. PRF offers many practical benefits that make it an attractive choice, including its low cost, simple procedure, 100% natural components, minimal risk, and outpatient use.

Consult with a qualified medical professional to determine if PRF injections can help with any sort of musculoskeletal condition/injury you’re dealing with. And if it seems right for you, consider getting treatment with the PRF experts at M Health and Beauty.