What Is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
Platelet Rich Plasma (or PRP) is a mix of concentrated platelets and serum given as an injection to stimulate healing and healthy tissue regeneration at a site of injury.
Typically, damaged tissue areas (like tendons and cartilages) take much longer to heal (than other areas of the body) because they have a very poor blood supply. As a form of regenerative medicine, platelets can be harvested from a patient’s own blood and injected to concentrate an area of damaged tissue. Commonly known for their clotting abilities, platelets contain a wealth of growth factors and enzymes that act as natural healing mechanisms. PRP injections provide the damaged tissue with essential nutrients and growth factors, stimulating an accelerated tissue repair and regenerative process. The growth factors released by the PRP attracts stem cells to the injured area leading to enhanced healing
Who Is a Candidate for PRP Injections?
Typically, PRP injections are known to aid in the repair and regenerative process of individuals suffering from:
- Ligament and Muscle Tears
- Nerve Injuries
- Chronic Muscle Pain
The PRP Injection Procedure
The platelet rich plasma procedure is quite quick and relatively painless. The injection is almost always done in a physician’s office and the patient is normally out in about an hour and a half.
Prior to the injection, 40-60 ounces of blood is withdrawn from the patient and placed in a specialized centrifuge for roughly 15-20 minutes so that the platelets can be separated from the other components in the blood. Once separated, the platelets are put in a syringe and are ready for injection.
During the injection, the injured area is treated with a small amount of local anesthetic to numb the pain or discomfort the patient has. Once the anesthetic is in effect, the plate-rich plasma is re-injected into the area of injury. During the injection, the physician will use ultrasound or fluoroscopic X-ray guidance to guide and ensure the proper placement of the platelet-rich plasma, maximizing the healing process
What Is the Recovery Process Like After PRP Injections?
Post-injection, patients are asked to lie down for roughly 15-20 minutes so that the physician can observe if the patient has responded positively to the injection
The amount of pain experienced by the patient varies depending on the severity of the injured area and the body’s reaction to the PRP injection. The two most common reasons for pain involve increased inflammation or pain from the injection itself. Patients are not recommended to take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications for a week after the procedure; the physician may prescribe pain medication for those that need it. Applying ice is also not recommended after the procedure, particularly for one to two days post-injection.
In terms of physical activity, it varies from patient to patient depending on the injured area and the patient’s response to the injection. For most patients, they are able to return to work the following day. Patients should stay away from any activity that puts significant stress on the injected area for about 2-3 days. If a patient had a spinal injection, for example, playing football or any other contact sport is not recommended within the first four weeks post-injection. Studies on PRP show promising results. Experts in a study from the Journal of Spine Surgery state that patients who had PRP experienced a significant decrease in pain after 6-month of the treatment
“I have a congenital issue with my hip that resulted in osteoarthritis causing excruciating pain and limited mobility. I was told by multiple specialist that I needed a full hip replacement surgery. With Dr Noto’s help as well as physical therapy I have been able to avoid the surgery and keep my quality of life and stay active for the past 8 years.”
Jude T., Verified Patient
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