Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is used to treat injured, damaged, or degenerated tendons, ligaments, joints, and other body tissues. Also referred to as autologous blood therapy, PRP treatment involves the use of the patient’s own blood, which contains substances that stimulate the healing process.
What happens when a body area is injured?
When a person incurs damage or injury to a body region, the blood platelets and white blood cells work together to heal that area. Platelets contain potent growth factors, which are released in great numbers when a body area is injured. The growth factors also stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Why are PRP injections done?
PRP injections allow the specialist to use concentrated blood platelets from the patient’s own blood. This prevents the risk for rejection or allergic reaction. PRP therapy is a less invasive means of treatment than surgery, and it allows the doctor to treat the patient efficiently without having to open the skin.
What conditions respond to PRP injections?
PRP therapy is used to treat:
- Hip conditions – Such as pyriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint pain, hamstring tears, and tendonitis.
- Knee conditions – Includes patellar tendinosis, bursitis, tears and sprains of the knee ligaments, and tendonitis.
- Shoulder and arm conditions – Such as tendonitis, golf elbow, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, and bicipital tears.
- Leg and foot conditions – Includes plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, tendonitis, and Achilles tendon tears.
Who is a candidate for a platelet-rich plasma injection?
PRP injections are useful for patients who:
- Have acute injuries from accidents (falls, sports, motor vehicle)
- Prefer a less invasive form of treatment
- Have a healthy immune system
How do I prepare for the PRP injection procedure?
When you arrive at the pain center, the doctor will take a medical history and ask you questions about your symptoms. After a physical examination, the doctor will advise you on the pros and cons of PRP therapy. You must sign a form of informed consent agreeing to the procedure. The nurse starts an IV catheter in your arm to give necessary medications and draw a small amount of blood.
What happens during the PRP injection procedure?
The skin over the injured or damaged body region is cleaned using an antimicrobial agent. The doctor will first numb the area using a small needle and local anesthetic. After allowing the region to numb, the procedure needle is positioned using real-time x-ray. The processed platelets are injected, the needle is removed, and a small bandaid is applied.
What happens after the PRP injection?
A nurse will monitor you for around 15 minutes after the PRP injection. The site will be tender and sore for a few days. Most patients report an aching sensation, which is the normal body healing response. We advise patients to avoid any anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. These drugs interfere with the healing response. Additionally, do not engage in strenuous activities or lifting for a week. We recommend you rest for 2-3 days and return to activities gradually.
The doctor may choose to administer more than one PRP injection during the procedure session. The number of return injections required depends on the duration and severity of the injury or damage. A series of injections may be required, and these are spaced several weeks apart. Chronic injuries usually require at least three PRP injections.
Is PRP therapy effective?
A recent research study found that PRP therapy had a 66% efficacy rate, with effects lasting for up to six months. Many studies show that PRP injections are effective for treating whiplash, fibromyalgia, chronic lower back pain, and knee arthritis.
What risks and complications could occur?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is considered to be both safe and effective. However, risks could occur. These include bleeding, nerve damage, infection, and increased pain. Since no foreign substance is injected, there is little chance of an allergic reaction.
Premier Pain & Spine offers PRP Therapy in Chicago. There are eight locations offering premier pain treatments. Call today to find out more!