Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment – Patient Information/Instruction
MUSCLE/TENDON & JOINT INJURY TREATMENT
You may be reading this note because you have opted to have treatment of an injection of Platelet Rich Plasma or P-PRP for your musculoskeletal problem. Moreover, your condition has been identified as one that should benefit from this form of treatment. Here we provide some basic information instructions regarding the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection procedure.
Background on Platelet Rich Plasma injection treatment
PRP is derived from your own blood by taking a sample of blood, placing it in a special tube and spilling the blood in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes. This separates the blood into important components including red blood cells, platelets, and plasma (the non-cellular fluid in the blood). The middle layer constitutes PRP, which contains highly concentrated platelets, the cells that are responsible for promoting blood clotting. The cells also contain a number of specialised chemicals called great factors. These include platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factors Beta, and vascular growth factor. These factors interact with local cells and send signals that initiate a variety of events such as cell division and migration. The function for PRP injection treatment is to deliver high concentrations of growth factors to a site of injury, for stimulating healing responses and reducing inflammation in the tissue.
PRP has been used for decades to help promote healing dental, orthopaedic, and plastic surgery procedures. Over about the past five years, PRP has been recognised for its huge potential in healing and treating both chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries involving tendons, ligaments, and muscles, including cartilage. This procedure is gaining wider media attention as it has been used in professional athletes for speeding up recovery during injury.
Potential risks and benefits
Today injection of P-PRP into damaged or partially torn tissues has been shown to be effective in the majority of patients with various conditions, and research is continually ongoing and amplifying. Most P-PRP injections are being done in areas of tendon damage, joint cartilage issues or chronic injury which are causing ongoing pain and reduced function for many patients. Examples include the knee arthritis, Achilles tendon, tennis elbow, shoulder tendinitis and over various muscle tendons. PRP has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of muscle strain injuries and tears. Overall, your clinician may feel that PRP is a reasonable form of treatment for you when looking at your condition and in comparison with other forms of treatment including injection therapy, surgery and other conservative means like physical rehabilitation.
Because PRP is derived from your own blood (meaning autologous), there is no chance of having an allergy or immune reaction. Indeed, in the literature, side-effects or complications of PRP injections are extremely rare. The main risk of P-PRP injection treatment may include local infection, however, this is extremely rare at less than 1% chance, and pain at the site of injection is also a slight risk, but again rare.
What to expect during the procedure
You should stop taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (Ibuprofen) 7 days before the procedure, and should not take these medications again for 5 days following the procedure. Common examples are inclusive of naproxen, ibuprofen and blood thinning agents like aspirin. Non-steroidal medication can hinder the action of some of the growth factors present in PRP, this may render the injection ineffective. You may use paracetamol before after the procedure. Generally speaking, the patient can carry on with normal daily activities on the same day as the treatment, with minimal downtime needed. However, you are advised to take things easy a couple of day post-treatment. The patient will personally be given further instructions during and post-treatment by the clinician.
It is unlikely, but if necessary you may ice the area for 20 minutes every three hours for the first 24–48 hours following the procedure. It is very uncommon to experience a ‘flare’ reaction post procedure. If this was to occur, begin taking paracetamol medication and notify us following the procedure. Swelling, again is uncommon following the procedure, if any progressive swelling or redness or fever occurs – notify us immediately so it can be assessed for the chance of infection (again, an infection is an extremely rare complication but which may warrant antibiotic treatment). If symptoms are severe, you may be directed to A&E but only in rare circumstances.
A little bit of post-treatment soreness is completely normal and necessary in most cases to kick start the inflammatory and healing process.
Activity level and follow up
For the day of the procedure and after, limit the activity related to the injection site to activities of daily living. Depending on the injection site and the instructions from your clinician, you may be advised to refrain from too much weight-bearing the day of the injection. Return to higher-level activities such as running, cycling, golf, weight-bearing, etc… will be directed by your procedure clinician and rehabilitation therapist. It is expected that it will take up to 4-6 weeks to adequately assess your recovery progress from the procedure. Please make an appointment with your clinician at that time to assess your progress and help us collect systemic data that will be useful for progress.
Recent study on the effects of PRP on osteoarthritis, in relation to increased mobility and reduced pain.