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Blood is made of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is the name given to plasma in the blood with a high concentration of platelets that contain huge doses of bioactive proteins, such as growth factors, that are critical to the repair and regeneration of tissues.  PRP therapy uses the patient's own plasma and platelets to hasten the healing of musculoskeletal injuries.

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injections for Joints

What is PRP?

In order to extract these platelets, a small amount of blood is drawn from the patient and is immediately centrifuged, a process in which mixtures are separated using centripetal force. This process separates out red blood cells, the platelets, and the plasma. The platelets with the plasma have all of the healing agents. Once the separation is done, the PRP is extracted and can then be injected back into the patient’s injured area. It is their own platelet-rich plasma --as it isn’t taken from another person or derived in a laboratory.

 

Several clinical studies have demonstrated that PRP injections have improved function and decreased pain to various maladies, including injured tendons, ligaments, and joints. It can be used to postpone or avoid surgery.

 

How many treatments are necessary?

Many patients only need one treatment, though some will need two or three.  Six to eight weeks after the first injection, the patient will be evaluated at a follow-up appointment to determine if additional injections are needed.  If necessary, the additional injection will be scheduled eight to twelve weeks later.

 

What can it treat?

•Chronic tendon injuries, like tennis elbow

•Osteoarthritis

•Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis

•ITB Syndrome (common in runners), Hamstring tears

 

Side effects

The side effects of PRP injections are very limited as the patient is utilizing their own blood, to which they should have no reaction

 

The procedure may initially increase pain in the treatment area or reproduce symptoms for one to three days (and occasionally as long as ten days).  The patient may experience limited range of motion the day after the procedure.  The majority of the inflammation should decrease in 10-14 days.  Noticeable improvement should be evident within one month.

 

Possible Benefits

•Promotes natural healing

•Scar free

•Quick recovery - "true" improvements in approximately 4 weeks

•Reduces inflammation

•Convenient - avoid/delays costs of surgery

•Increases collagen production

Post Care Instructions for PRP

Before the procedure, and for 10 days after the procedure, it is important that the patient avoids anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve®, Motrin®, Advil®, ibuprofen and Aspirin.  These medications can reverse the desired inflammatory response.  For pain post-procedure, the patient may use ice compresses or Tylenol®.  

Man running on grassy trail.