Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
What is PRP therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that promotes the body’s natural repair process in response to injury. While platelets are most commonly known for their blood clotting properties, they are also natural sources of growth factors, proteins, and other products that can help kick-start the body’s repair process in degenerative or injured tissue. The injected “autologous” (of the own body) product stimulates repair and regeneration, especially in areas where blood supply is poor, such as joints, tendons, and intervertebral discs. PRP therapy is a great option for those who want to treat the source of their pain rather than purely mask the symptoms.
Who is a good candidate for PRP therapy?
Those with chronic joint or back pain may be candidates for PRP therapy. Soft tissue injuries (i.e. to the muscles, ligaments, or tendons) are most responsive to PRP treatment.
How is it done?
A small amount of blood (60cc) is extracted from your vein and is then processed in a centrifuge to isolate the platelet-rich layer of the blood. This layer is isolated and is re-injected into the part of the body that needs healing under real-time ultrasound and/or fluoroscopic guidance. While some patients experience relief after just one treatment, best results are often obtained with multiple treatments. Patients should note that PRP therapy does not provide immediate relief; rather, it kickstarts the body’s natural healing response which can take 2-3 weeks for notable pain relief with continued improvement over the next few months.
What are the benefits of PRP therapy?
- Safe: The platelets are harvested from your own blood, so there is little to no risk of an adverse rejection reaction or disease transmission.
- Cost effective: PRP treatment is a quick, cost effective, outpatient procedure that’s harvested from 60-120 cc’s of your own blood. No hospital or facility costs are incurred.
- Fast healing time: PRP Therapy is a 60 minute in-office procedure. This gives you the freedom to resume daily activities with fast healing time. Patients will often need a break from sports and exercise for several weeks to a month.
- Avoidance of invasive surgery: Stem cell therapy administered in concert with PRP injections often leads to avoidance of joint surgery or lifting the burden of pain medication.
- All-natural: By using your own harvested platelets, you are giving your body a chance to heal itself naturally.
Are there risks?
Because PRP effectively induces an inflammatory response, patients will most likely experience some post-procedural pain at the injection site for up to 48 hours. While rare, there are certain inherent risks with any injection procedure, including:
- Infection of the injection site
- Bleeding, especially with anticoagulant therapy or bleeding disorders
- Tendon rupture due to improper needle placement
Patients are encouraged to discontinue any anti-inflammatory agents for 7 days before the procedure.