What You Need To Know About Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections
When you pull a tendon or a ligament, the connective fibers that make up the area can be stretched or torn. These tendons and ligaments are made up of blood vessels and heal by bringing an influx of blood to the area, which you can see as a bruise in many cases. Blood is made up of red cells, white cells and platelet-rich plasma. The essential part of the blood flow to the area carries platelets, which contain many healing and growth factors and contribute to healing.
Sometimes the healing process does not work correctly and scar tissue forms instead of healthy tissue. Blood cannot penetrate scar tissue and once scar tissue has formed further blood flow, and the healing platelets, can’t reach the injured area. As a result, the tissue can’t heal correctly. In cases of cartilage damage, the body does not have a way to regenerate the injury. But new research shows injecting a patient’s own platelet-rich blood into scar tissue or other injured areas can greatly assists in the healing process.
Platelet Rich Plasma injections, or PRP for short, is an example of orthobiologics. While PRP has been used for many years, recent advances in technology allow physicians to customize the injections for individual patients. The idea is to use the patient’s own platelet rich blood to stimulate the body to heal itself.
How Are PRP Injections Created?
PRP preparation is created in a laboratory. First blood is first drawn from the patient, then the platelets are separated from other blood cells through a process called centrifugation. The increased concentrations of platelets are combined with the remaining blood, and applied to the injury through injection.
How Are PRP Injections Used?
PRP injections can be used for a number of injuries including inflammation of the elbow or tennis elbow, muscle strains including hamstring pulls, tendonitis, hip and shoulder injuries, ACL or MCL sprains, ankle sprains and joints that can develop scar tissue.
PRP is also beneficial during surgical procedures. It can be applied or injected into torn tendons during the actual surgical procedure to increase the healing time. It is often used during surgeries for:
- ACL repair or ACL Reconstruction
- Meniscus repair
- Rotator cuff repair
- Labral repair
How Long Does It Take PRP To Work?
If your doctor has determined PRP is right for you, expect about two hours to prepare the plasma mixture and apply it. Unless injected during surgery, PRP injections are performed in a medical office with or without local anaesthetic.
Non-surgical conditions are expected to heal and reduce symptoms by 75% within 8 weeks. Those with less severe tissue damage will heal faster. For patients that do not experience a 75% improvement at 8 weeks may require a second injection to reactivate the healing response.
Based on the degree of swelling and other findings after surgery, a second injection of PRP may be recommended in the office within 6 weeks.
Recovery time from a PRP injection session can vary. Some patients are sore for 2-3 days afterwards but usually treated with OTC pain medications. Patients should also rest for a few days, or even up to a week after the injections to avoid aggravating the healing tissue.
Dr. Goradia’s Experience With PRP Injections & Orthobiologics
Dr. Goradia began using orthobiologics in 2009 and is now a leader in this technology in his own practice and in training other surgeons across the country.
To find out if you are a candidate for PRP Injections contact us today for a consultation with Dr. Goradia.