What is PRP?
Platelet-rich Plasma is a regenerative injection therapy that is utilized for a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and pain. It is a concentration of platelets, growth factors and stem cells derived from your own blood to help the body’s innate healing capabilities. Concentrating these factors and reinjecting them begins repairing the damaged area and improves the signaling and recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells to facilitate further repair. Tendons and ligaments have poor vasculature by nature and can take much longer to heal than tissue with good blood supply- PRP circumvents that issue and helps those areas to heal faster.
What is the process like?
Before any blood is taken, the patient is assessed. We go through the history of your problem and health, do a full orthopedic exam and special tests to identify the problem. We do this to ensure you’re a good candidate and be as specific as possible with our injection. The process begins with collecting 30-60cc of blood from the patient. It is then spun down in a specialized centrifuge to to concentrate the platelets, stem cells and growth factors into a small amount of plasma (5-10cc). This solution is then reinjected into the area of damage to begin tissue regeneration and proliferation. This whole process takes between 60-90 minutes.
What can it treat?
PRP is used for a variety of acute and chronic joint, tendon and ligament injuries. Some of the more common problems include:
- Tennis and golfer elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- Chronic ankle sprains (inversions and eversions)
- Achilles tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Runner and Jumper’s Knee
- Shoulder dislocations and instability
- Meniscal tears
- Chronic low back and neck pain
What is the difference between PRP and prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy and PRP can be used to treat the same issues, but PRP tends to require less injections and is often indicated when prolotherapy does not seem to be sufficient or its effects have plateaued. Certain patients that may have a more difficult time healing are likely better suited for PRP.
What are the risks and side-effects?
The injection can be tender or painful (we are injecting into a damaged area after all) and there may be swelling, bruising and discomfort for 24-48 hours after the treatment. As with any medical procedure that punctures the skin, there is risk of infection, but the site is cleaned and sterilized before injection.
How many injections will I need?
Each person and condition is different but the majority of patients require 2-6 sets of injections at 4-6 week intervals. Patients may notice benefit after one treatment, and as the body does take time to heal, maximal benefit may not be noticed for 6-12 months.
How can I prepare for the injection? What can I do after?
The healthier you are before and after the treatment, the better the body will respond. This means trying to optimize diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, sleep/rest and hydration while decreasing harmful activities like smoking, alcohol and stressful situations. During the intake we will discuss important factors of health and make an individualized plan for each patient.
It is also recommended to stop use of corticosteroids, blood thinners and anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Advil) for one week before the procedure.