PRP uses the natural healing properties of your own blood in order to treat pain arising from tendons, ligaments and muscles. The process specifically uses the healing factors found in platelets which are found in the plasma portion of your blood. Many people know that platelets are responsible for blood clotting after injury. What many do not know, is that platelets release growth factors that help tissue regenerate. They are also responsible for White Blood Cells coming to the area and removing debris from the damaged tissue.
What is PRP used to treat?
Most frequently, PRP is used to treat tendonosis and tendonitis. Any tendon can be treated with this procedure and although not as commonly used, this technique is thought to have applications for joints, ligaments and muscles (arthritis, cartilage tears, sprains and strains). Most frequently, PRP is used to treat tennis elbow, rotator cuff injury, achilles injury, ligament injury and plantar fascitis. Studies are on going about the applications of this procedure but initial results are promising.
How is it done?
Immediately prior to the procedure, your blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge. A centrifuge separates blood into three main components: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This centrifuge process increases the concentration of platelets delivered to the area by up to 8-10 times over what is normally found in your whole blood. The platelets are then withdrawn and injected along the area of injured tendon or ligament using ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Following the procedure, the area should be rested for about one week. Regular activities are allowed but deliberate exercise is not. Ice and Acetaminophen can be helpful in controlling discomfort. It is best to avoid any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories if possible. A moderate amount of discomfort is expected given the inflammation associated with this procedure. This generally lasts about 3 days and slowly subsides there after. It is this inflammation that allows for repair and healing of the damaged tissues. After the first week, an exercise program is recommended. Dr. Weiss will provide this to you depending on your diagnosis.
Will I need more than one injection?
Re-evaluation is generally performed at 4 weeks post injection. Sometimes more than one procedure is needed. If you have no pain at four weeks, no further procedures are required. If your pain has decreased but still remains, a second injection might be recommended. If you have had no benefit from the initial injection, a second injection is usually recommended. Some patients get benefit only after two injections. If after two injections there is still no benefit, a third injection is unlikely to be helpful. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict if a patient will respond to PRP prior to the procedure.