Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments

Blood consists of four main components: plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells called whole blood. Whole blood is made up of approximately 55 percent plasma and 45 percent blood cells. Further, you have platelet-rich plasma and platelet-poor plasma.

 In recent decades, a treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy began to be used to aid in recovering from certain injuries and surgical procedures. 

Originally used for blood transfusions to those who had low platelet counts, the procedure was quickly picked up for use during surgical procedures due to its multiple regenerative properties.

Since the 1990s, PRP has been used in healing wounds, reducing inflammation, and scarring, connective tissue repair, and more. 

PRP has gained popularity in many arenas, including sports medicine and regenerative medicine.

PRP uses

PRP therapy is thought to have many healing properties, the main one being that it helps stimulate your body to grow healthy, new cells. Assisting with the production of new cells can speed up recovery time, as well as the quality of healing.

Some conditions that PRP is often used to treat include, tendon injuries like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, joint injuries, pain caused by arthritis, and sports injuries. 

So, you can make an informed decision with your doctor as to whether it’s right for treating your injury.

How does PRP work?

PRP treatment can be used for many different soft tissue and tendon/ligament-related ailments treatment has been utilized in Europe for over 20 years now, and professional athletes have been seeing the benefits of this treatment for a long.  There are many ways that PRP can safely and effectively treat many ailments or injuries.

When combined with our osteoarthritis Knee Relief Program, PRP has been shown to drastically increase the joint’s ability to recover.

Due to the fact that PRP uses the patient’s own blood, we are utilizing the patient’s own healing factors. These are the same growth factors that heal a person when they are recovering from a cut or wound. They are being concentrated and injected into an area that is injured or not vascular (does not normally receive much/ if any blood flow). 

The regenerative properties of the platelets are targeted toward the injury site. This helps to aid and speed up the recovery process by addressing the injury directly, and PRP offers long-term healing benefits.

Why does PRP work?

Platelets are the part of the blood that contains growth factors and proteins. These are particularly important in the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue. PRP Therapy works by accelerating the body’s own healing process and bringing the healing to areas in the body that would not normally receive this healing. 

Your body’s joints, tendons, and ligaments receive limited blood flow; therefore, in most cases, it is very difficult for these areas to heal on their own. Injecting one’s own PRP directly to the injury site works by encouraging the growth and regeneration/healing of new, healthy cells.

What injuries can PRP help?

 Some of the most common injuries that have benefitted from our PRP Therapy are:

  • Osteoarthritis of the major joints (knee, shoulder, ankle, hip, and spine
  • Rotator cuff strains and tears
  • Torn meniscus injuries
  • Tendonitis and ligament sprains
  • Chronic knee pain (arthritis or injury)
  • Muscle strains, trigger points
  • Tendinosis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Carpal tunnel

Our Platelet-rich plasma treatments at Westminster Ortho Med Clinic strengthen these weak tissues, leading to improved joint and muscle functions with significantly less pain.

When you get PRP therapy, your doctor begins by taking some of your blood. Your blood is then put through a machine called a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of it. The remaining platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the injured area, often with the help of an ultrasound.

 Multiple injections may be necessary depending on the area you’re treating.

PRP is quick, taking only about 30 minutes. Most people are able to return to their daily routine right away, though you should avoid washing the treated area for the first 48 hours afterward. Just like any procedure, you do run the risk of side effects. However, they are typically mild, and your doctor works closely with you to help minimize the risks. These can include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Nerve injuries
  • Tissue damage

Patient information on before and after Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Procedure

The below information outlines what you can expect prior to and after your treatment, as well as how the procedure is performed. 

Depending on your injury, one to multiple sessions of platelet-rich plasma may be required. 

We work with our patients to create an ideal plan for each individual to provide the best chance of a successful outcome.

PRP Pre-Procedure Guidelines

Prior to your PRP Therapy session, your physician will discuss what to expect during your treatment. However, it is helpful to remember that there are a few things to take into consideration before your session:

  • At least five days before your procedure, discontinue anti-inflammatory medications
  • One week before your procedure, discontinue any blood-thinning herbs or supplements
  • One to two weeks before your procedure, discontinue systematic steroids
  • On the day of your procedure, eat a full, healthy breakfast and be sure to drink plenty of water.

Please be advised that if you take chronic oral steroids, a discontinuation plan will need to be discussed with your primary care provider as abrupt stoppage may cause side effects. 

PRP: Post-Procedure Guidelines

After your PRP Therapy session, we recommend that all patients rest on the day of their procedure. For the next 2 days, we advise limited use of the injection area, but the movement is encouraged. This helps the joint recover as the injection is absorbed by the area’s surrounding tissues.

0 – 3 days post-procedure guidelines.

After your treatment, there is a chance you will experience some mild to moderate pain or discomfort at the injection site. This is normal, and it is a sign that your body is healing as it adjusts to the injection. It is best to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to help promote healing.

It is critical that you DO NOT take ANY medications following your procedure unless specifically directed otherwise by a physician. This is because any medication can affect the healing process or have other adverse effects.

Therefore, discontinue the use of any of these medications post-procedure for best results:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications for at least 4 weeks post-procedure
  • Blood-thinning herbs, supplements, or vitamins for 21 days post-procedure
  • Systematic steroids for 6 weeks post-procedure

4 weeks post procedure guidelines.

At this point in your healing, you should gradually increase your daily activities. This is also when you can begin exercises. Proper exercise is a vital part of long-term results, and we can help you determine which exercises are best suited for your needs prior to your procedure.

  • Ice can be applied 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes as needed for comfort
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen) can be taken to help manage any residual pain at this time, take as directed
  • Continue to avoid alcoholic beverages, smoking, or excessive amounts of caffeine

5 weeks post-procedure guidelines.

At this point in your healing, we highly encourage you to begin physical therapy to aid in your long-term healing and continued recovery. 

A follow-up appointment will be made for you to meet with our physician or medical team to review your healing process