Conditions & Treatments

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Consider PRP if you want to return to an active lifestyle but suffer from:

  • Elbow tendonitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Quadriceps tendonitis
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Shoulder osteoarthritis
  • Hip osteoarthritis

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The Science of PRP

What is PRP?

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 (or richer) than usual.

To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood.

How does PRP work?

Studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process.

To speed healing, the injury site is treated with the PRP preparation. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. Beneficial effects will follow in the subsequent weeks.

The Small Details

What are the risks?

Since PRP is prepared from one’s own blood, there is no risk of disease transmission or side effects of drugs entering your blood. The risks are all related to the possible but rare local effects of getting any type of injection, swelling or redness for 2-3 days following.

What are the side effects?

Patients will often experience an increase in pain for 1-2 weeks as a natural healing response to the PRP injection. Inflammation may be treated by applying an ice pack to the effected area, taking over the counter oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a narcotic pain reliever as prescribed by your doctor.

When should I expect relief?

While most patients begin to experience pain relief after a PRP injection within 4 weeks, it may take up to 8 weeks. Results vary depending on various factors including the amount of degeneration or inflammation of the area being treated. Some patients may require 2-4 injections for maximized relief which will be discussed prior to scheduling the first PRP appointment.

Is PRP right for me?

If you suffer from an inflammatory or degenerative condition involving your tendons or joints, PRP may be a strong treatment option. During your evaluation, the medical provider will review your diagnostic studies, perform a physical examination and determine if you are a good candidate for PRP injections. Factors that are considered when choosing PRP include the patient’s medical conditions, current medications and pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have an infection or were recently treated for an infection
  • Your current medications include NSAIDs or blood-thinners such as Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen (Aleve), Aspirin, Nabumetone (Relafin) or Coumadin (Warfarin).
  • You have an autoimmune disorder

Preparing for the Injection

How to prepare for your injection

The week before:

  • No NSAIDs for 3 days prior to the injection unless other directed by your provider.

The day before:

  • Increase fluid intake

The day of:

  • Make sure you are well hydrated as 30cc of blood will be drawn for the injection
  • Wear loose clothing or bring something you can change into for the injection

Following the injection

  • Do not overdo it for the 1-2 days following the PRP injection. Expect an increase in pain for 1-2 days following your injection as this is part of the natural healing process. Return to activities as tolerated
  • Redness and swelling may occur following your injection and may last up to 4 days

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F.A.Q.s

How many injections will I need?

The quantity of injections will be discussed during your evaluation with a medical provider and will be based on the results of the physical examination and diagnostic studies. Tendinitis is frequently treated with 1-2 PRP injections. Arthritis is most often treated with 3-4 PRP injections.

How often can I have PRP injections?

When doing a PRP injection series, it is recommended the injections be done 2 weeks apart. PRP injection series may be repeated as needed throughout the year.

What if I just had a cortisone injection?

That’s okay!  We can schedule your PRP injection at least 2 weeks after your cortisone injection.

How long is a PRP injection appointment?

We block 30 minutes for PRP injection appointments. This 30 minute block includes the blood draw, centrifugation and PRP injection.