PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment is a process that uses the patient’s own blood to help alleviate and treat musculoskeletal pain, soreness, and tenderness. PRP is also used as an osteoarthritis treatment for numerous affected areas. The body’s first reaction to soft tissue injuries is to send platelet cells to the injury site. This initiates the natural repair process. PRP treatment injects a highly concentrated level of platelets that have been enhanced with rich plasma from the other blood components.
Prior to the modern in-office method of injecting PRP, it has been, and continues to be, used during surgeries for faster healing and quicker recovering times. PRP treatment is a non-invasive process that does not require any incisions or stitches, and there are no scars. Using the patient’s own blood for PRP treatments have shown positive results for a number of conditions that include the knee, ankle, shoulder, and spine, without the risk of infection.
PRP Preparation and Injection Treatment
Depending on what part of the body is being treated, a PRP session can range from 30 minutes to a few hours. This includes the preparation and procedure times.
PRP Preparation: Several small vials of the patient’s blood are drawn from a vein. The blood is then placed into a centrifuge machine that will spin the blood at a rate of speed that will separate the platelets from the other blood components. Then, the platelets are mixed at a concentrated level with the separated yellowish-colored plasma, additional growth factors, and other red-blood components. Plasma accounts for 55 percent of red blood cells and works in harmony with platelets for effective blood clotting and healing.
PRP Injection Procedure: The injection sites are sterilized and, depending on the amount of and the location of the injections, the area may be numbed for the patient’s comfort. The concentrated PRP is placed into a syringe and injected directly into the injury site. The PRP concentration may also be injected and fanned out into the area around the injury. It is not uncommon for the doctor to use more than one syringe of PRP to complete a treatment session. The type of ailment treated will dictate the number of injections to be given.
There is a quick recovery time, but the injected sites may feel numb for several hours. PRP treatment is an outpatient procedure performed in the doctor’s office or clinic. Unless the doctor wants to test the injury site for pain relief after the injections, the patient can leave within a few minutes after having the treatment. The majority of patients are able to resume their normal daily activities within 24 hours. The application of an ice pack on the injection site will help reduce any swelling. The doctor will instruct the patient about after treatment care that may include the use of over-the-counter aspirin for minor pain relief.
Number of Injections Needed
The number of PRP injection sessions that a patient needs will depend upon the area being treated, how quickly the body responds to the treatments, and whether the purpose of the injections is for a minor injury or a chronic ailment. The majority of ailments and injuries can be treated with 1 to 3 injection sessions. Some chronic conditions may require scheduled periodic PRP injection treatments. The doctor will discuss the full treatment procedure with the patient before any PRP injections are started.
PRP injection therapy has proven effective in pain relief and healing for the majority of individuals with joint, muscle, tendon, and spinal discomfort and chronic pain. However, it is advisable that every potential patient schedule a consultation with their doctor before beginning any new medical treatment.
Some individuals may not be ideal candidates for PRP treatment. This would include people who are pregnant, people who have an active infection, people with blood disorders, and people who are using anti-coagulation prescriptions. For these individuals who are seeking the benefits of PRP treatment, they may need to obtain a clearance from their doctor before PRP injections can be approved. Every patient is unique and needs to share their medical conditions with the doctor who will be performing the PRP treatments.