Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are not a new treatment for common injuries; however, many people are just beginning to hear about them. This means a lot of people have questions about what PRP is, how it works, and what to expect.
The first two questions are very simple to answer. PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.These platelets are what your body uses to encourage healing and regenerate tissue. So, a PRP injection works by taking the body’s natural healing methods and applying them in greater concentration to an injured area.
But what can you expect if your doctor recommends a PRP injection for your injury? While every procedure varies slightly, there are many common aspects that you should know in order to be prepared for the injection.
Everything You Need to Know to be Prepared for Your PRP Injection
- Pre-injection Preparations. Your preparation for receiving a PRP injection should start two to three weeks before the procedure, during this time it is important to avoid corticosteroid medications. Additionally, in the week before the injection, you should stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin as well as arthritis medications such as Celebrex. Also, patients should drink plenty of fluids the day before the procedure.
- During your Injection. All that is involved in this in-office procedure is the blood draw, the preparation of the PRP, and the injection. The whole procedure typically takes less than an hour to perform. It is important to be aware that blood is drawn from a vein in the patient’s arm into a syringe (15 to 60mL, or 0.5 to 2 ounces, or more may be needed).Then there is a waiting period while the blood is placed in a centrifuge machine before being injected by the doctor into the problem area. The platelet-rich plasma typically stimulates a series of biological responses, including inflammation, so the injection site may be swollen and painful for about 3 to 5 days.
- Follow-up Advice. It is important to note that the platelet rich plasma injections may cause temporary inflammation, pain, and swelling. Patients are often advised to take it easy for a few days and avoid putting any strain on the affected joint. Depending on the type and extent of the injury being treated the doctor may recommend that you use crutches or wear a brace or sling to protect and immobilize the affected joint.
PRP injections are an excellent route to a quick recovery to return to your sport or to work. However, you may have more questions or want to know more about what will be involved in the procedure. If so, please contact Dr. Stuart A. Kauffman.