Platelets were once thought of only being responsible for clotting. But they have now been scientifically proven to be a reservoir of proteins and growth factors that play a vital role in the healing cascade. With advanced techniques we are able to concentrate these platelets in a simple outpatient setting and accelerate the healing process.
What are the possible risks involved?
PRP is from your own blood, autologous, so there is little to no risk when conducted by a trained professional. Since the cells are autologous there is no chance of having an allergy or immune reaction. Side effects or complications of PRP application are extremely rare.
How long does the process take?
The total PRP procedure will usually be between 30-60 minutes. During this time blood will be drawn and processed for the injection. Local anesthesia may be used and applied, injection points planed, visualization using ultrasound. Tendons, ligaments, muscle, skin, joint spaces, disk spaces are all different microenvironments that may require extended procedure time.
How do you obtain PRP?
A small amount of peripheral blood is taken from the patient and placed into an FDA cleared sterile container. This sterile disposable container is placed in a specialized centrifuge designed to separate the blood and plasma into “layers” of the primary components of platelet rich plasma (PRP). When processing is complete, the PRP is injected or applied under the sterile conditions.
The Healing Process
PRP signals for Stem cells and regenerative cells to repair and rebuild the damaged tissue. This accelerated healing process reduces pain, promotes increased strength, and improves overall function. This is called the healing cascade which can be active and take place over a 4-6 week period.
Long Term Outcome
Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms over the course of healing time. This procedure may eliminate the need for more invasive treatments, such as surgery or prolonged use of medications. While other treatments such as corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, PRP injections stimulate healing of the injury over a short period of time with less side effects. Patients report improvement in symptoms and return of function, but it takes time; four to six weeks. Many patients require two to three treatments before the injured tissues are completely healed and may experience a dramatic return of function and relief.
What can I expect immediately following the procedure?
The anesthetic used to numb the skin generally wears off in 1-2 hours. Mild pain and swelling may occur at the injection site at this time. Majority of the patients are able to return to usual activities with no down time.