Platelet rich plasma (or PRP) injections have been used for many years as a proven treatment for injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. This regenerative therapy, which is a bedside procedure, is an excellent option for athletes with sports-related injuries who want to jump start the healing process.
Benefits of this treatment aren’t limited to healing of sports injuries. People with tendonitis, arthritic joints, muscle strains and a broad number of other injuries and conditions have found this to be a safe, effective path to recovery and pain relief.
The treatment takes about an hour and is done in office. Most patients return to normal daily activities immediately following the procedure. Recovery from the injection itself can take up to a week for some patients. It’s important to rest and avoid any strenuous activity following the procedure as your body heals itself.
During the first two weeks after treatment, you may begin light exercise, and may slowly increase intensity to gradually return to your normal workout routine. Patients should bear in mind they do still have an injury, and we recommend they follow a physical therapy regimen for 6 to 12 weeks depending upon the injury to strengthen the area.
For the procedure, a clinician draws a blood sample and then, using a centrifuge, will separate the platelets to create a concentrated solution. The clinician will then use a syringe to inject the injured area with the concentrated platelets, using the guidance of an ultrasound. The platelets stimulate the release of growth factor, which subsequently increases the production of reparative cells (stem cells).
As is the case with any injection piercing the skin, possible side effects can be soreness at the injection site, infection and nerve injury. However, because the patient’s own cells are used, the likelihood of adverse side effects are greatly reduced.
Tylenol and moist heat are recommended for any localized pain, pressure or aching at the injection site, for the first 24-48 hours. (We direct our patients to avoid all NSAIDS– i.e. ibuprofen, Aleve and aspirin —for two weeks following the treatment.)