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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections


Introduction
The healing process consists of a complex series of events in which proteins in the blood act as “regulators.” These proteins come from a component of the blood called platelets. Platelets are small, colorless, fragments that are formed in the bone marrow and travel through the bloodstream in a dormant state. When an injury occurs, however, these platelets begin to “clump” together at the injury site and release proteins called “growth factors” which begin the healing process.
For many years, the use of a patient’s own blood components to aid in healing has generated a lot of interest in the field of orthopaedics. Thanks to extensive research and advances technology, this therapy is available for use in orthopaedic care and has been a part of our treatment approach for nearly a decade.


What is PRP and how does it work?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of a patient’s own blood platelets and can be injected into the injured area in order to expedite the healing process. In this method, doctors collect a sample of the patient’s blood and place it in a centrifuge which spins the sample down and separates out the plasma, a component of the blood which contains a high number of platelets.

Platelets play a critical role in healing wounds and soft tissue injuries by activating stem cells to grow new, healthy tissue. An injection of platelet-rich plasma gives your body a natural “boost” to accelerate the healing process. After receiving a PRP injection, many patients report pain relief in addition to rapid healing. Ultimately, the goal of this method is to utilize the body’s own natural ability to heal itself and in doing so, achieve the highest level of function.


What are the benefits of PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is a low-risk, non-invasive treatment that can be used for many orthopaedic conditions such as tendon and ligament injuries throughout the body. It also benefits people who are not candidates for surgery or would simply like to avoid surgery.

Other benefits include:
• Rapid pain relief and healing
• Regeneration of healthy tissues
• Less risk of complications than surgery
• Minimal recovery time
• No incision or scarring


What conditions is PRP used to treat?
PRP can be used to treat degenerative, non-healing, or poorly healing musculoskeletal conditions such as tendonitis and osteoarthritis. Whether you are a professional athlete or an everyday patient, PRP may be the solution for you.

 

How is PRP delivered to the injured area?
PRP is injected into the injured area through the use of anatomic landmarks and/or ultrasound guidance.


Am I a candidate for this treatment?
Only you and your doctor can decide if PRP is right for you. If you would like to avoid surgery and obtain long-lasting pain improvement, we encourage you to discuss this option with your doctor.


Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Despite extensive research and several publications showing the effectiveness of this therapy, many insurance companies still consider this treatment to be experimental and refuse to cover it. If it is determined that your insurance company will not cover the procedure, your doctor may discuss other options.


What should I expect?
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure will typically take less than an hour.

Will the injections be painful?
Patients experience different degrees of discomfort or pain after receiving the injection. The injection site will be painful for the first 1 to 3 days which should be addressed with pain medication that your physician will prescribe. Someone will need to drive you home after the procedure.

How long until I can resume activity?
Patients are typically able to resume normal daily activities within 2-3 days post-treatment and are usually able to resume exercise at half their usual intensity 2 weeks after treatment. However, if your activity is painful, stop. Let pain be your guide.

How many treatments will it take to heal my injury and how far apart are the treatments?
The average patient requires one to two treatments. Treatments are typically spaced 3 to 4 months apart.

Will I be able to go to work/school after treatment?
Most patients are able to return to work and/or school the next day. Occasionally, patients may be required to take a day or two off, as everyone responds to the treatment differently. We will provide a note, if necessary.

When do I start to feel better or see results?
Though this can vary from person to person, patients generally report improvement in their pain as soon as a week post-treatment. There is then a gradual, and often progressive, improvement over the next 12-16 weeks.

Are there any adverse effects?
Aside from some expected post-treatment discomfort, some patients will also experience a low grade fever, swelling of the injection site, body aches, and fatigue for the first 72 hours after treatment (known as the inflammatory phase). Patient-specific post-treatment expectations will be discussed with each individual at both the initial consult as well as at the time of treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call.


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