FAQ: Platelet Rich Plasma

What is Platelet Rich Plasma therapy?

Along with the liquid called plasma, your blood contains red cells, white cells, and platelets. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is obtained via a process called centrifugation that removes red and white blood cells from a blood sample while leaving behind a high concentration of platelets in the plasma.

Platelets are vital for clotting blood but also contain proteins called growth factors that are very important in the healing process. PRP contains as many as 10 times the normal concentration of platelets.

For Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, a sample of your blood is drawn, and the platelet-rich plasma is separated out and placed in a syringe. The Platelet Rich Plasma is then injected into the injured area.

For joint damage, the treatment is also known as “prolotherapy,” or proliferation therapy since the solution is injected very near or into the joint itself. The proteins in the Platelet Rich Plasma promote healing and regeneration of new tissue, which resolves the symptoms associated with the damage.  

 

I have heard of Cortisone Shots; is this the same?

Studies have shown that cortisone injections may weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief and stop inflammation, but they do not provide long term healing. PRP therapy heals and strengthens these tendons and ligaments, strengthening and thickening the tissue up to 40% in some cases.

 

What Can Platelet-Rich Plasma Treat?

PRP injections are used to treat torn tendons, tendinitis, muscle injuries, arthritis-related pain, and joint injuries. They are becoming more common for cosmetic procedures, too. For example, dermatologists and hair replacement experts use PRP injections to treat a type of hair loss called androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, which affects men and women. And some dermatologists provide PRP treatments for the face. (You may have heard these called a “vampire facial.”)

 

How many treatments are necessary and how often is this therapy administered?

While the response to treatment can vary, most people will experience significant improvement in symptoms after only 1 injection. In severe cases, a second injection may be needed. Seldom will three or more injections be recommended. Each treatment is spaced approximately 6 to 12 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have; the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections.

 

Is PRP right for me?

If you have a tendon or ligament injury, or mild to moderate osteoarthritis and traditional methods have not provided relief, then PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive and less expensive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and prevent further degeneration of the tissues.

 

Are there any special instructions?

You are restricted from the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) one week prior to the procedure and throughout the course of treatments. Initially, the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Most patients only require some extra-strength Tylenol to help with the pain. Ice and heat may be applied to the area as needed. After the first week after the procedure, patients will typically start a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. However, aggressive physical activity is discouraged. Blood thinners should also be stopped several days before the blood draw but may be resumed immediately after the injection.

 

How soon can I go back to regular physical activities?

PRP therapy helps regenerate tendons and ligaments but it is not a quick fix. This therapy stimulates the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments and requires time and rehabilitation. Through regular visits, your doctor will determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities. On average, patients return to sports between 8 to 12 weeks after the PRP injection.

 

Does Insurance Cover Platelet Rich Plasma?

In some cases, insurance will cover PRP however, if it is not covered most patients can use their healthcare flexible spending account to pay for the procedure. Otherwise, it is considered an out-of-pocket expense. To find out if your insurance carrier will cover and to find out if you are a candidate for this in-office treatment call the office at 219-208-6894 or use our booking feature to request your appointment today, be sure to reference our $47 website new patient special.

 

Author
Casey Walker, D.C. Casey Walker, D.C. is the founder of R2 Medical Centers a medically integrated clinic, family-owned and operated in Lowell, Indiana. He has been practicing chiropractic since graduating from Palmer Chiropractic in Davenport, IA in 2005. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, cycling and fly-fishing.

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