PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma
What is Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy?
Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater than usual.
How do you extract PRP?
Creation of PRP is simple, painless, and conveniently done at an office visit.
The process of creating PRP begins with drawing your blood. The amount of blood drawn will depend on the area that we are treating. We typically take 30-60 ml’s of whole blood. Once the blood has been drawn, Dr. Anden will place the blood into a centrifuge to spin and concentrate the blood. This process takes about 20 minutes. Once the blood has been spun, we will separate the Platelet RICH Plasma from the Platelet POOR Plasma. Dr. Anden will then injection the PRP into the problem area using ultrasound OR x-ray guidance.
Similar to Prolotherapy, the risks of PRP are low and the most common side effects are temporary increases in pain, stiffness and swelling, as well as bleeding/bruising in the area.
Does the injection hurt?
Generally speaking, all injections come with some discomfort. The level of discomfort depends on the part of the body being treated, as well as, the tolerance of the patient.
There is typically an increase in pain after the injection, as we injected a very concentrated solution. You will feel a significant amount of pressure during the injection and for a few hours following. Dr. Anden will give you pain medication following the procedure, but you may take Tylenol on your own.
IT IS CRITICAL TO AVOID ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATION and ICE before and after the procedure. We want to create an “inflammatory” response, which is going to stimulate your body into healing the injured area. If you are using ice or anti-inflammatories this will counteract the treatment. Avoid medications such as: Aleve, Motrin, Celebrex, Naprosyn, and Mobic.
What can PRP Treat?
PRP can treat all chronic and acute joint, ligament and tendon injuries including: tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocations, meniscal tears, osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain, neck pain and any other areas of injured connective tissue, joints, tendons or ligaments.
PRP Treatment Protocol
The benefit to PRP therapy is that this can be a permanent fix, unlike other treatments, such as cortisone, which is temporary. On average, most patients see signs of improvement within 6-8 weeks. During this time frame you will want to avoid over loading the injected area and generally “take it easy” while the body is healing itself. It takes time to heal and regenerate, so you can expect a slow progression over 3-6 months.
The most important part of any stem cell therapy is adhering to your post-procedure restrictions, which are covered before your procedure. For the procedure to have the best chance to yield lasting benefit, our physician strongly recommends:
- No anti-inflammatory medications for a minimum (preferred) 6 weeks
- Rest for the first 24–48 hours, but do not lie sedentary
- Start Physical Therapy within 4-6 days