Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection
Our blood consists of a liquid component known as plasma. It also consists of three main solid components which include the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets play an important role in forming blood clots. They also consist of special proteins, known as growth factors, which help with our body’s healing process. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a high concentration of platelets in plasma. A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets, while platelet-rich plasma contains 94% platelets and 5 to 10 times the concentration of growth factors found in normal blood, thus greater healing properties.
Indications for PRP Injection
PRP is a nonsurgical treatment option that shows good results in the treatment of multiple orthopedic issues. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote healing, and delay joint replacement surgeries.
A small amount of your blood (generally around 60 mL, or 4 tablespoons) will be collected by your provider. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge machine for about 10 minutes to separate the platelets from the remaining blood components in order to concentrate the platelets to a therapeutic level. The platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into the treatment area, usually under ultrasound guidance. Depending on the site being injected, your provider may or may not also use a local anesthetic.
It is normal to feel some discomfort at the injection site for a few days after your procedure.
- Activity restrictions after PRP injection can vary depending on the treatment area. In general, most patients will be asked to refrain from strenuous activity for the first week.
- In some cases, physical therapy will be prescribed to bolster the effects of the treatment.
- AVOID use of NSAIDS for 6 weeks after the procedure; Tylenol is okay.
- AVOID applying ice to the area for at least the first few days.
Risks and complications
There are very minimal risks associated with PRP injections. Some of the potential risks include
- Increased pain at the injection site
- Damage to adjacent nerves or tissues
- Formation of scar tissue
- Calcification at the injection site
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