How does PRP work?
PRP is a technique that can treat arthritis, as well as muscle, ligament and tendon injuries. PRP uses the body’s own blood cells to help accelerate healing. Platelets are the most important of these cells. You may have heard of these as they are important for blood clotting. Over the last 20 years it has been discovered that platelets release chemicals, called growth factors, that help accelerate healing. PRP can be used on patients with ailments ranging from knee arthritis to a full spectrum of sports injuries.
How is the procedure performed?
A sample of a patient’s blood is spun down in a special centrifuge which concentrates and separates the platelets. Growth factors and specialized white blood cells are also separated from other components of the blood. Following the preparation, we then pinpoint the exact area of damage that needs to be injected. Sometimes we uses ultrasound or fluoroscopy for specific placement of the injection. Once injected, the PRP will help accelerate healing and diminish the pain. The PRP causes mild inflammation in the area injected and this stimulates healing. The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes.
What can be treated?
PRP injections can be used on muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints throughout the body. Examples of ailments that can be treated include tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, knee or hip arthritis, hamstring partial tears, and rotator cuff injuries.
How many treatments are involved?
This will vary per patient. Most patients will improve after their first treatment. Some patients will require multiple treatments, usually 3-6 weeks apart.
Are there any special instructions prior to the procedure? Patients are instructed to stop blood thinners including NSAIDS (Motrin, Aleve, Advil) and Omega 3 fish oils 7 days prior to the procedure, and for 2 weeks after. If you are on Coumadin or other prescribed blood thinners, you will need to discuss this with the doctor prescribing them for you before the procedure is scheduled.
Are there any restrictions after the procedure?
Afterwards, you may be sore for several days in the injected area. Your physician will discuss with you what medications you may take for pain. You will need to decrease your activity from 1-3 weeks after injections. You will receive a specific treatment plan of how to advance your activity from your physician.