Did you know that platelet-rich plasma injections, or PRP, are used to treat a variety of health problems? From knee sprains to tendon issues, osteoarthritis to tendonitis, PRP injections help decrease pain and improve function to many areas of your body. In this article, we examine PRP injections, breaking down how they work, the effectiveness of the treatments, and ideal patients for PRP injections.
How Do PRP Injections Work?
Platelets play a major role in tissue repair; their primary purpose is to migrate cells and help speed up healing. PRP injections are used in combination with a patient’s blood. Because of this, PRP injections are tailor-made for each patient’s needs. Your doctor will develop a PRP “recipe” designed specifically for your medical problem.
The process of creating platelet-rich plasma is thorough and patient-specific.
The steps include:
- Blood is drawn from the patient’s arm into a vial for storing
- A centrifuge machine will process the blood into different layers
- These layers of new blood create the injection, which is comprised of 45 percent red blood cells, 1 percent white blood cells, and 55 percent platelet-poor blood cells
- The area of the patient’s body where the injection will take place is cleaned thoroughly
- The doctor inserts the injection into the joint area on the patient
- A bandage is applied to the affected area once the injection is complete
It is common to feel sore for up to three days after you receive your first injection. While soreness occurs, you should not push yourself physically, as the treated area needs time to heal. The full recovery time varies per patient, but patients typically heal within two to four weeks after an injection.
Who Should Receive PRP Injections?
PRP injections are becoming increasing popular for athletes, who use the injections to treat ligament and tendon injuries. Tiger Woods, for example, used PRP injections as a way to heal his body faster. But PRP injections are not solely reserved for high-profile athletes and celebrities. In fact, at Countryside Orthopaedics, we recommend anyone experiencing the following injuries to consider a PRP injection:
- Elbow tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Spine conditions
- Herniated disc inflammation
- Rotator cuff tears
- Knee osteoarthritis
- If you have tried steroid injections and they have not worked
- If physical therapy has not worked
- If over-the-counter medication (such as NSAIDs or ibuprofen) do not work
How Effective Are PRP Injections?
Research has proven that PRP injections can help patients recover from injuries faster. Much of what contributes to the long-lasting results of PRP injections is the fact that the patient’s own blood is used to help regenerate damaged tissue.
New research has also shown that the results of PRP injections last longer than other treatments, such as cortisone shots. This, of course, depends on the patient, but PRP injections are widely considered the new standard for immediate and long-lasting injection relief for suffering patients.
What is the Difference Between PRP Injections and Stem Cell Treatment?
Stem cell therapy is another option for treating pain in the body. Like PRP injections, the stem cells used for treatment are also collected from the patient’s body, thereby eliminating the potential for harmful reactions to occur.
PRP injections involve platelets while stem cell treatment mixes stem cells with other chemicals. For stem cell treatment, the cells are taken from bone marrow and combined with platelets to regrow natural tissue. PRP is a simpler technique because it involves a centrifuge instead of a high-tech culture lab. Stem cell procedures often require anesthesia or surgery; PRP injections do not.
PRP injections is a process that can help with your orthopedic problems. The injection time lasts between 40-90 minutes and is less invasive than other similar treatments, such as stem cell treatment. Call Countryside Orthopaedics today to find out if the injections are right for you. Our dedicated and certified physicians will be ready to provide you with the best care to treat all of your orthopedic needs.