Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a non-surgical treatment for a wide range of injuries, ailments and chronic pain. This innovative approach uses growth factors and protein from your blood to speed healing and alleviate pain. It is a fast-growing area of orthopedics and sports medicine. These “autologous” injections are derived from your own blood, and are not synthetic or taken from a donor.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Your body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. PRP therapy jumpstarts and nourishes that natural healing process using your own blood components.
Your blood contains platelets and plasma, in addition to red and white blood cells. The platelets and plasma contain proteins and growth factors, which are the desired substances when it comes to therapy.
Here is how the process works:
- Your blood is drawn from your arm
- The vials of blood are inserted into a centrifuge which spins them around at a high rate of speed
- The action of the centrifuge separates the various components of the blood, so that the plasma is isolated from the other components
- The isolated plasma contains many more platelets than a normal sample of blood
- The platelet-rich plasma is injected directly into the treatment area
- The growth factors in the platelets kickstart the healing process, and kickstart the production of new cells, collagen and tissue.
You should experience pain relief and injuries that heal faster as a result of your PRP treatment. It usually takes multiple sessions to get results, potentially stretching over several weeks or months. PRP therapy may make it possible to avoid surgery and the lengthy recovery that often accompanies surgery.
Platelet-rich plasma injections are used for:
- Tendon, muscle, ligament, joint or disc inflammation/deterioration/pain
- Tendon, muscle, ligament, joint or disc injuries
- Spinal pain
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- MCL injury
- Athletic injuries
- Gluteal tendinosis
- Chronic pain
With PRP, it may be possible to avoid or reduce your use of pharmaceutical medications, in some instances.
PRP for Hair Loss
Platelet-rich plasma can be used to stimulate hair growth by injecting the blood directly into the scalp. The injections are a concentration of platelets from your own blood. While research is ongoing, the idea is that the blood and growth factors introduced to the hair follicles prompt the growth of hair. Find out if you are a candidate for this treatment if you are experiencing hair loss.
Frequently Asked Questions about PRP
Injuries and damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments are often treatable with PRP. Examples include:
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy and tendonitis
- Patellar tendinopathy and tendonitis
- Achilles tendinopathy and tendonitis
- Osteoarthritis of the knee
- Lateral epicondylitis
- Plantar fasciitis
Studies are currently limited, but we do know that the injection of platelet-rich plasma is low risk and we have seen the benefits it can provide to proper candidates. PRP injections improve and speed the body’s ability to heal.
Severe complications associated with PRP injections are not common, which may be because the injections are your own blood. Nonetheless, side effects are possible. After the injections, you may experience pain and/or soreness at the injection site. There is a risk of infection, as is the case with most injectable treatments. There are also risks of tissue damage and nerve injury. There is also the risk that the injections do not provide the relief hoped for.
During your consultation, we review all of the possible risks and side effects possible. You have the right to make an informed decision about PRP injections.
It often takes about 6 months to get the full benefits of these injections. This timeline varies based on what is being treated and the individual person.
You will likely feel a pinch as the needle is inserted. The level of discomfort depends a lot on the treatment area. Whether the joints, lower back, knees or ankles are being treated – all of those areas have different degrees of sensitivity.
You may feel nervous about the injection appointments. We know each person has his or her own tolerance for and comfort with injections. Overall, PRP injections are not described as painful by our patients.
Unfortunately, no. PRP results are not permanent but can last up to a year before you may need new PRP injections.
The only way to get a definite idea of cost is to schedule a consultation. The cost varies based on the treatment area, number of appointments and other factors. In general, most PRP treatments cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Most health insurance policies do not provide PRP coverage, but check your own policy for details.
Arrange Your Consultation
The only way to know if PRP injections may be right for you is to schedule a consultation. An assessment will be made of your current symptoms and health conditions, which help determine the appropriateness of platelet-rich plasma therapy.