What is a PRP injection?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is super concentrated platelets that facilitate tissue healing via growth factors and stem cells. 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 injuries.
What conditions are commonly treated with PRP?
With pain and injury - PRP is most commonly used for chronic muscle, tendon injuries or joint degenerative conditions like arthritis that have not healed with initial treatments (activity modification, physical therapy, etc.).
Common conditions include: tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, Achilles Tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, patellar (knee) tendinosis, rotator cuff (shoulder) injuries, UCL tears (“Tommy John” injuries), and osteoarthritis
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 platelets are then taken out and all then further concentrated. Here, then transferred into a syringe to be injected into the injured area.
Platelets’ main functions are clotting blood, healing via “ growth factors ”.
What to expect with a PRP injection?
The procedure typically takes up to 1 hour to complete. During the treatment there may be mild discomfort with the injection of the platelets, and after the treatment there may be a mild increase in pain, swelling and bruising, this is normal.
For one month after the injection, patients need to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Following the injection, activities often need to be modified for 2 weeks. After that, formal physical is commonly resumed to help maximise 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 discomfort, but those typically improve with time as the injury heals.
Goals of treatment
Though temporary discomfort can be expected, the goal of PRP is to help the body heal itself, and to get over injuries for which recovery has been difficult.
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