Platelet Rich Plasma FAQ

 Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, also referred to as PRP Therapy, is a progressive non-surgical treatment to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions including arthritis, tendon injuries, and ligament injuries. PRP is part of a group of state-of-the-art treatments collectively referred to as Regenerative Medicine.  PRP treats an injured area naturally using your body’s own growth factors to accelerate healing.  It has been shown to be safe and effective for numerous joint and soft tissue injuries and has been extensively researched in numerous medical publications from all over the world. Some of the many uses of Platelet Rich Plasma include osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the spine, knee, shoulder, hip, hands, and feet, as well as meniscus tears, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff tears. The procedure is simple and is performed in the office.  The PRP process begins when a small amount of the patient’s blood is removed from the arm and placed into a special container.  The blood is then placed into a device called a centrifuge, which spins the blood, to help the separate the portion of the blood which becomes concentrated with platelets, thereby giving the procedure its name.  These platelets are important because they release growth factors to recruit stem cells and to assist in healing an injured area naturally.  Once the PRP is isolated from the patient’s blood, it is injected in the injured area under the guidance of an ultrasound machine to help accelerate healing and reduce pain. The entire process takes approximately one hour and patients are usually sent home shortly thereafter. 

FAQ

What are PRP Injections?

 Platelet Rich Plasma Injections are used to stimulate healing using one’s own blood components. The physician will withdraw your blood, put the blood into a centrifuge where the platelets are extracted (platelets are now known to release healing proteins known as growth factors) and then inject that solution directly into the injured site using an ultrasound guided technique to ensure proper placement. These proteins then stimulate repair and regeneration at the site, offering the patient pain relief and quicker healing rates. In most cases, 1-3 injections are required. 

What Conditions are Treated with PRP?

 PRP Injections can treat a number of conditions for the hip, knee, arm, shoulder, lower leg and feet. It is best to consult with your physician for a complete listing. However, below is an abbreviated list of conditions that can be treated with PRP.  

  • Acute muscle tears and strains
  • Chronic Tendinopathies (tennis elbow, Achilles tendon, patellar tendon and rotator cuff)
  • Ligament injuries (ie: medial or lateral collateral ligament—MCL/LCL)
  • Osteoarthritis

Why Use PRP Injections?

 Platelet injections are an alternative to surgery. Ideal candidates would be those who prefer a less invasive option to surgery or those who are unable to undergo a surgery. It also allows for a much quicker recovery period and is much less painful than a surgery. It is important that patients considering this therapy find a doctor with experience in these types of injections. It is more likely to have a favorable outcome if the doctor administering the injections is experienced and skilled. 

How does PRP Work?

 A large amount of growth factors are released at the site of injury upon injection. These platelets induce an inflammatory response to initiate healing. The platelets are able to restore tendons and ligamentous proteins as well as strengthen cartilage allowing it to become firmer and more resilient. 

Is PRP Painful?

 Patients usually tolerate the injection well. However, there can be soreness after the injection due to the PRP-induced inflammatory response. You can expect swelling and soreness during the first 48 hours post injection and are given pain medication to help alleviate the discomfort. 

How Quickly does PRP Work?

 Most patients see some improvement within 2-6 weeks. The pain becomes less and less as the weeks pass with most clinical trials reporting improvement up to 6-9 months post injection. 

Are these Injections Safe?

Platelet injections are safe. Since you are using your body’s own blood components and there are no foreign substances being injected into your body, the injections are considered safe. 

However there is some minimal risk involved. During research studies and clinical trials, the only risk noted was that the injection could cause an infection to develop. This is not unique to platelet injections; anytime a person undergoes an injection there is this risk. But because there are no foreign bodies being injected and there is no concern of disease transmission, this therapy is considered to be safe. 

Using one’s own body as a healing mechanism is a relatively new concept in the world of medicine, and an exciting one at that. As therapies such as these begin to prove they are beneficial and effective, you will likely see similar therapies develop in other medical areas. 

Are You A Candidate?

 PRP is a great option for patients who have failed conservative treatment (medications, physical therapy and cortisone injections), who are not surgical candidates or prefer a non-surgical minimally invasive alternative. If you would like more specific information and examples of results on the efficacy of PRP treatment, please speak to your physician. A physician evaluation will determine your candidacy or the appropriateness of the procedure based on your symptoms and history of treatments, while providing you more detail on the subject. 


 Is there any Patient who would Not Be a Good Candidate for PRP? 

Patients with severe anemia, low platelet count, abnormal platelet function, active systemic infection or those with an active cancer are not recommended to be administered PRP. 

What is the Future of PRP?

 As people seek out alternative options to surgery for injuries and other conditions, therapies such as PRP will become more in demand. Not only are patients excited about it but physicians are as well as it gives them more options to offer their patients. Treating patients with their own body components is revolutionary and more than likely just the beginning of these forms of treatment. Further research will occur and the use of these treatments will continue as long as they prove to be effective.
How this process works is that the physician will withdraw your blood, put the blood into a centrifuge where the platelets are extracted (platelets are now known to release healing proteins known as growth factors) and then inject the platelet solution directly into the injured site using an ultrasound guided technique to ensure proper placement. These proteins then stimulate repair and regeneration at the site, offering the patient pain relief and quicker healing rates.
Conditions that benefit from PRP Therapy  

  • Tendonopathy
  • Tendonosis
  • Acute and Chronic Muscle Strain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ligament Sprains and Intra-articular Injuries

Joint Pain such as Arthritis and Knee Meniscus Damage 

What is PRP?

PRP platelets are a component of blood which after injury plays a vital role in supervising healing by releasing growth factors and influencing tissue repair. Platelet-rich plasma is a sample of autologous [your own] blood with concentrations of platelets above baseline values. This sample of blood is drawn from you the same way you draw blood for lab tests. This blood is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma is then divided into platelet-poor and platelet-rich plasma. The active platelet-rich portion of the plasma is removed and is then injected back into the injury site on your body that is being treated. 

The PRP Treatments

Commonly treated conditions include but are not limited to; acute muscle tears and strains, chronic tendinopathies (tennis elbow, Achilles tendon, patellar tendon and rotator cuff); ligament injuries (ie: ACL); and for osteoarthritis. 

Because the platelet-rich plasma that is injected into you comes from your own blood, safety concerns are minimal. As with any injection, the procedure is performed with attention to sterility in order to avoid potential infection. 

Clearance would need to be obtained for patients considering PRP who have a history of thrombocytopenia, use anticoagulants, or have an active infection, tumor, metastatic disease, or are pregnant. There are no documented cases of carcinogenesis, hyperplasia, or tumor growth associated with the performance of PRP on a patient. 

Are PRP Injections Covered By Insurance?

PRP is a great option for patients who have failed conservative treatment (medications, physical therapy and cortisone injections), who are not surgical candidates or prefer a non-surgical minimally invasive alternative. If you would like more specific information and examples of results on the efficacy of PRP treatment, please speak to your physician. A physician evaluation will determine your candidacy or the appropriateness of the procedure based on your symptoms and history of treatments, while providing you more detail on the subject. 

Talk to your doctor today!

 Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) has been used in maxillofacial and plastic surgery since the 1990s. Its use is now expanding into the orthopedic and sports medicine fields as a result of its potential to speed up the healing of muscle and tendon injuries, as well as degenerative conditions. While still considered experimental, clinical trials and anecdotal cases have shown promising results for this innovative therapy.