PLATELET RICH PLASMA
Patients should consider PRP treatment if they have been diagnosed with a tendon injury in which conservative treatment such as anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and bracing have not provided symptomatic relief.
For most patients PRP offers a solid, alternative treatment for those who do not wish to have surgery. An initial evaluation will determine if PRP is a viable treatment option.
How do I prepare for the injection?
Patients will be scheduled for an evaluation to determine if PRP is appropriate. An MRI may be done prior to the injection to insure proper diagnosis and that there is not a major tendon tear that might best be treated surgically. The PRP injection takes less than an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis. Do not take anti-inflammatories one week prior to injection as this will limit treatment benefits.
How do I care for my injection after treatment?
Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness or discomfort, You can apply ice and elevate as needed. After one week, the patient will likely start physical therapy. It is not advised to take anti-inflammatory medications following the injection. Notify your doctor of any allergies.
What are the potential benefits of PRP?
Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms; elimination of the need for more medication, cortisone injections or surgery; and a dramatic return of function.
What are the side effects?
Although uncommon, the risks include those signs and symptoms associated with injections: pain, infection, no relief of symptoms, worsening of symptoms, blood clot, nerve injury, skin discoloration, calcification, scarring, loss of fat to the affected area, and allergic reaction. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects.
How soon can I go back to regular physical activity?
This treatment is not a “quick fix” and is designed to promote long term healing of the tendon. The process of PRP requires time and rehabilitation to allow the injured tendon to heal. Prior studies on tennis elbow have demonstrated at 6 months a 90% improvement in pain scores and at 1-3 year follow-up, 93% reduction in pain. Regular follow-ups with your physician can determine when you can resume regular activity.
What is platelet rich plasma therapy?
Platelet rich plasma therapy, or PRP, is a treatment option for non-healing tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, and knee tendonitis. It is also used for pinched nerves and hard to heal fractures.
How does a PRP procedure work?
Using the patient’s own blood, specially prepared platelets are taken and then re-injected into the affected area. The platelets release substances known as “growth factors” that lead to tissue healing. For example, when you cut yourself, the body’s natural response is to attract platelets that release growth factors and facilitate the healing. By concentrating the platelets that release growth factors up to 14 times, healing is promoted. While other treatments such as corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, PRP injections actually heal over a period of time.
The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself and by re-injecting concentrated platelets we are facilitating the natural healing process.
Platelet concentrate produced by the Stryker ReGen system is derived from the patients own blood. This technology uses a centrifuge to separate out the patients own blood components by their various densities. The red blood cells (RBCs) are denser and will move too the bottom. The plasma fraction is the least dense and will float to the top layer. The buffy coat which contains the majority of the platelets will be sandwiched between the plasma and above above the RBCs.