What is a Platelet-Rich Plasma injection?
PRP stands for “platelet-rich plasma” – a concentrated version of blood that is rich with healing and growth factors. PRP can be used for regenerative injections, in which a patient’s own blood is used to deliver those healing factors directly to injured tissue, in order to decrease pain and heal certain injuries. PRP therapy utilizes platelets taken from the patient’s own blood to rebuild damaged tendons or cartilage. Platelets normally circulate within the blood stream and responsible for blood clotting and initiating a healing response in acute injury.
What conditions are commonly treated with PRP?
PRP is most commonly used for chronic muscle or tendon injuries that have not healed with initial treatments (activity modification, physical therapy, etc).
What happens during a PRP injection?
Blood is drawn from the patient and put into a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the platelet-rich plasma. The platelet-rich plasma is then transferred into a syringe to be injected into the injured area. Often times an ultrasound machine is used to guide the needle directly to the injured tissue.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure typically takes 30-40 minutes to complete done at the office in a comfortable environment. Patients return home the same day and are often able to work the following day.
What to expect with a PRP injection?
During the treatment there may be some discomfort with the injection of the platelets, and after the treatment there may be a temporary increase in pain, swelling and bruising.
What to do after procedure?
For one month after the injection, patients need to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); however, acetaminophen may still be used. Following the injection, activities often need to be modified for 2 weeks. After that, formal physical activity is commonly resumed to help maximize healing.
With any type of injection there is a minimal risk of infection at the injection site, even though the procedure is performed with sterile precautions.
It is common for patients to feel an initial worsening of symptoms, but those typically improve with time as the injury heals.
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