Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): A Comprehensive Guide

Published: Monday, June 3, 2024
Orthopedic Surgery

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a minimally invasive procedure that leverages the healing properties of platelets taken from a patient’s own blood. This treatment is used to aid in the healing of injuries and manage chronic conditions, capitalizing on the body’s natural healing processes.

Conditions Commonly Treated with PRP

PRP therapy is versatile and can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  1. Mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis – Helps in reducing inflammation and promoting tissue repair.
  2. Chronic tendon injuries – Particularly effective for conditions like tennis elbow, chronic Achilles tendonitis, and patellar tendonitis
  3. Acute sports injuries – Useful for injuries such as pulled hamstring muscles
  4. Plantar fasciitis – Can alleviate the pain and promote healing in the plantar fascia

Are There Risks Associated with PRP?

PRP therapy is generally considered safe since it uses cells from the patient’s own blood without any additives or preservatives. However, there are some potential risks, including:

  1. Pain at the injection site – This is the most common side effect.
  2. Infection, tissue damage, and nerve injuries – These risks are similar to those associated with cortisone injections, though they remain relatively low.

What to Expect from PRP Therapy

Prior to Your Visit:

  1. Avoid blood-thinning medications and herbal supplements – Stop taking these at least one week before your appointment to reduce the risk of bruising and swelling.
  2. Avoid aspirin and NSAIDs – Medications such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Aleve should be avoided for one week prior to the procedure.
  3. Notify your provider about blood thinners – If you are taking medications like Coumadin or Plavix, inform your healthcare provider.
  4. Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids before your appointment.

Day of the Procedure:

Blood Draw – A trained staff member will draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm.

Processing – The blood sample is processed using a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets.

Injection – Your provider will prepare the platelet-rich plasma and inject it into the affected area.

Additional Considerations:

  1. Insurance coverage – Most insurance plans do not cover PRP treatments, so expect to incur out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. Effectiveness – PRP may not work for everyone. It’s essential to consider all available treatment options and discuss them with your healthcare provider.

To determine if PRP therapy is right for you, schedule a consultation today with an NGPG orthopedic and sports medicine provider. This personalized assessment will help you explore whether this innovative treatment can meet your specific needs.