WHAT IS PRP?
PRP stands for “platelet-rich plasma,” which is also referred to as autologous blood concentrate (APC). Platelets are a specialized blood cell type that are essential for healing. Thus, when tissue is injured, PRP, which contains concentrated platelets, can be injected into the site of injury to stimulate healing.
WHY DOES PRP WORK?
Platelets are naturally made by the body and contain growth factors that promote the growth of connective tissue. When PRP is injected into injured areas, the growth factors stimulate the repair of injured tissue. Because platelets are concentrated in PRP, PRP is quite effective in instigating healing.
WHAT CONDITIONS BENEFIT FROM PRP?
If injuries have not been corrected through other means, PRP treatment should be considered. This technique is particularly effective for chronic ligament and tendon sprains. PRP is particularly effective for injuries to the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and ankle.
HOW IS PRP DONE?
Because platelets can be found naturally in the blood, we draw blood from patients to create PRP. We then use a centrifuge to spin the blood so that the platelets are separated from the rest of the blood. This technique allows the platelets to become concentrated and used for PRP treatment. Your site of injury will be numbed, and the PRP will be injected. The entire process takes about 30-40 minutes.
HOW OFTEN ARE INJECTIONS GIVEN?
6-8 weeks after PRP treatment, patients come in for a follow up. Often, they will not require another treatment. However, sometimes up to 3 treatments are needed.
IS PRP COVERED BY INSURANCE?
PRP is covered by most insurance plans, but some of these plans will require pre-authorization. Medicare does not cover PRP injections.
DO PRP INJECTIONS HURT?
You will endure injections when getting PRP treatment. However, because one such injection is intended to numb the area of injury, discomfort should be minimal. You may experience mild pain for a few days following treatment. You should also avoid anti-inflammatory medications for a week following the procedure. Such medications include Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Motrin. Tylenol is a good option if you want to take something to relieve pain.
ARE THERE RISKS WITH PRP?
There is some risk of infection or bleeding because injections are involved in the treatment. There is an even smaller risk of nerve damage. Complications from PRP treatment are rare and unexpected.
Your treatment should include a rehabilitation program that minimizes the risk of re-injuring yourself and that promotes the growth of connective tissue to heal the injured tissue.