Enhancing the Body's Natural Ability to Heal
What Is PRP Therapy?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a revolutionary therapy that involves injecting platelets from the patient's own blood to rebuild a damaged tendon or cartilage. It has been successful in not only relieving the pain, but also in jumpstarting the healing process.
PRP is a concentration of platelet cells drawn from the patient's own blood. Blood is composed of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is these platelets that are the body's "first responders" that help re-vascularize an injured area and construct new tissue. By injecting PRP into the area of an injury, the hope is to stimulate and optimize the body's ability to heal.
PRP contains multiple growth factors that can facilitate healing of injured tissue by harnessing the body's own healing potential. PRP injections make it possible for orthopaedic specialists to treat individuals with tissue damage and/or injury in a way that is less invasive than surgery. This could mean a shorter and less painful recovery for patients.
The ProcedurePRP injections are performed in the physician's office, offering convenience and efficiency to the patient. The patient's blood is drawn in the office and placed in a centrifuge to spin at high speeds, separating the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood. The platelet-rich portion of the blood is then injected into the injured area. It is a quick procedure, taking about 20 minutes, with a short recovery. Generally light activity is recommended for 2 weeks. Because the platelets are derived from the patient's own blood, the procedure is very safe, with no risk of rejection.
The Potential Effects of PRP Treatment Include:
- Promote tissue healing (tendon, ligament, soft tissue)
- Decrease inflammation
- Decrease pain
- Increase collagen production (base component of connective tissue)
- Delay joint replacement surgeries
Risks of PRP:
The most common side effect of PRP injections is an increase in inflammation and pain after the injection. Following the injection, patients may experience worsening pain for several days. It is important to avoid anti-inflammatory medications (such as Advil and Aleve) and aspirin at this stage of the healing, as these interventions may reverse the desired inflammatory response. Pain may be controlled with ice, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other analgesics.
Shoulder: bicipital tendinosis, partial tears of the rotator cuff
Elbow: tennis or golfer's elbow, ulnar collateral ligament injuries
Hip: ITB syndrome, hamstring tears
Knees: osteoarthritis (mild to moderate), patellar tendinosis, patellar-femoral syndrome, chondromalacia patella, partially torn or strained ligaments of knee (ACL/LCL/MCL), meniscus tears
Ankle and foot: plantar fasciitis, instability, Achilles tendinitis and partial Achilles tears, peroneal tendinitis, arthritis, recurrent ankle sprains, other foot or ankle tendinitis
How Many Injections Do I Need?
Depending on the exact problem, some patients may require up to three injections. Many patients, however, experience significant improvement after just one treatment.
I Am Told That I Have Knee Osteoarthritis And May Need a Knee Replacement. Will This Treatment Help Me Avoid Surgery?
Quite possibly. Depending on the extent of the osteoarthritis (mild to moderate), PRP may in fact help. Several studies have shown positive results in slowing the development of arthritis in the knee after PRP injections. You can read several of the studies on our website at www.nirschl.com.
PRP Reimbursement Information
Most commercial carriers consider this procedure to be experimental and are not providing payment for this service at this time. It is charged on a fee-for-service basis and must be paid at the time of the procedure. Check with the doctor's secretary for costs.
If you are interested in PRP injection therapy as a treatment option, speak to your doctor about whether or not it is an appropriate treatment for your ailment.
If you have questions about PRP or any orthopaedic injury, contact the experts at Nirschl Orthopaedic Center in Arlington, Virginia. Schedule an appointment with our orthopedist's today by calling 703-525-2200