PRP is the acronym for Platelet Rich Plasma and is researched for its beneficial use in sports medicine and chronic pain treatment. It is a non-invasive and non-surgical, but permanent solution that encourages the body’s natural healing process.
Platelets in the patient’s own blood are separated in a centrifuge and then re-injected into the injured joints, tendons, and ligaments. This, in turn, releases growth factors which promote the healing of natural tissues and quickens the healing process. You, in fact, experience benefits so quickly that you can return to your normal self in just 4-6 weeks’ time.
What is PRP?
The biggest benefit of PRP is that it offers a permanent solution and help patients avoid surgeries like joint replacement and back surgeries. It’s not like traditional pain injections that only provide temporary pain relief.
PRP grew popular after professional athletes were treated for symptoms like swelling, tenderness, pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It, however, is today used to treat various common injuries and conditions like:
- Osteoarthritis including knee, shoulder, hip joint, and ankle arthritis
- Overuse injuries
- Tendonitis and injuries to tendons
- Arthritic Joints
- Rotator cuff tears
- Reducing inflammation
- Spine conditions
- Sprains and pulled muscles
- Hair loss
- Tennis and golfers elbow
- Nerve entrapment syndrome like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Shoulder pain and instability
PRP creation process
This is a quick, simple and painless process that can be created during your office visit within just half an hour. The doctor draws blood and places it into a centrifuge to spin blood at very high speeds.
This separates the blood into red blood cells or RBC and dense platelets. The RBC is not used because it is the dense platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which is injected to treat the condition.
Are PRP injections painful?
The injections are basically minimal in discomfort, depending on your pain tolerance levels and the part being treated. There may be some pain for a few days which OTC medicine like Tylenol can reduce.
However, the injections have to be given under image guidance to accurately and precisely place the PRP. In the case of spinal injections, the doctor uses x-rays or fluoroscopy guidance to safely and properly place PRP at the damaged site.
Each person has individual needs because the dosage depends on the condition. Patients usually require 2-6 injections spread over some time, who notice considerable improvements within an injection or two
How PRP works
PRP involves injecting your own body’s concentrated platelets that increase the body’s healing and growth factors by 5 to 10 times. Besides, platelets help to clot blood, stimulate the production of collagen and promote wound healing and tissue regeneration.
When do you feel better?
This again depends on the injury site and extent. Most people see improvements like reduced pain and better functioning in just 4-6 weeks’ time. Your doctor will usually design a recovery plan for a few weeks to help the tissues heal quickly. This includes doing some sort of physical and avoiding physical activity or straining the tissues.
Potential PRP risks
There are generally no risks like allergies associated with PRP because the patient’s blood is the base. However, there are very rare cases where the patient may suffer from bleeding, infections and nerve damage because of wrongly placing a needle.
Insurance coverage and costs
PRP does not have any insurance coverage at present because it is still in the experimental stage. Research is still being conducted on it for its long-term effects.
Anyway, the treatment is not the first line of treatment used for treating injuries. It is usually resorted to only after other treatments do not prove helpful at restoring function and providing pain relief. The cost of PRP isn’t fixed either and depends on the type and number of injection to be given.
The most important thing to remember is that the injection has to be given by someone experienced and capable. So if you, or someone you know, should try