What is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a substance derived from platelet cells circulating within a person’s own blood. These cells are critical for blood clotting and, in conjuncture with the liquid plasma, assist in injury response and repair.
When you are injured, the body will respond by distributing platelets and white blood cells to the damaged area. These platelets contain growth factors that are critical to the healing process. The latest advancements in medicine allow us to separate the platelets and white blood cells from the patient’s own blood and inject that solution directly into the injured tissue.
PRP Injections at Atlantic Orthopaedics
A PRP injection is first prepared by drawing a small sample of the patients’ blood. With the help of a high-speed centrifuge, the platelets are pulled away from other blood components and collected as its’ own concentrated solution. This solution is then directly injected into and around the point-of injury to help stimulate and enhance the healing process.
PRP injections are advantages in that they can reduce pain and improve function by augmenting the body’s normal healing process. This, in turn, helps limit the need for pain medication and surgery for a number of the conditions treated in orthopedics and sports medicine.
Does insurance pay for PRP?
Currently, insurance does not pay for PRP. The fee for the whole procedure is approximately $700 and is paid prior to the procedure.
What problems can be treated with PRP?
We are using PRP regularly to treat a wide variety of tendon and ligament problems in most parts of the body. We regularly treat problems like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, trochanteric bursitis, rotator cuff tears, and tennis elbow. PRP injections can be helpful in healing chronic tendon problems and partial tears but are not helpful if the structure has ruptured completely. We are also successfully using PRP to treat arthritis in a number of joints. PRP does not reverse arthritis change but can slow progression and limit symptoms for an extended period of time. Your doctor can help you determine if PRP is an appropriate treatment for you.
What should I do to prepare for a PRP injection?
Patients should stop using anti-inflammatory medications* two weeks prior to the procedure, as these medications can limit the effectiveness of the PRP injection. Patients should also avoid these medications two weeks after their injection. Please tell your doctor if you are on any blood-thinning medications. We do not stop blood thinners for the procedure and we do not ask people to stop aspirin if it is used for cardiac reasons.
*Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), diclofenac (voltaren), Mobic, celebrex, prednisone, Aspirin etc.
What is the procedure like?
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What do I expect after a PRP injection?
The body part injected with PRP typically becomes painful following the injection. The injection causes inflammation which is quite painful and the pain can last 24-72 hours. The injection site may also become red and swollen. Pain can be treated with Tylenol and sometimes a prescription pain medicine is provided as it is important to avoid anti-inflammatory medicine (see above). Even a few weeks out from the injection there will likely still be mild pain or soreness in the body part treated, but this is part of the normal healing process.
What else happens after a PRP injection?
The best way to optimize the effects of PRP is to rest the injured body part for about 3 weeks. Patients receiving injections into the foot and ankle are typically immobilized in a walking boot. We do not immobilize other joints, like shoulders or knees, following the injection. We do ask patients to refrain from stressing (exercise, heavy work) the affected body part and also to postpone physical therapy for the same 3 week period.
When will I start to notice healing or improvement following my PRP injection?
At 3 weeks after the injection, things will still not be perfect. At this point, however, we like to hear that things feel different, and although still sore, the injury feels like it is improving. The healing from a PRP injection goes on for several months after the injection before optimal improvement is seen.
At what point can it be determined that the PRP injection did not help?
Typically after about 6 weeks, if there has been no meaningful improvement in the pain or dysfunction associated with the affected body part, then it is likely that the PRP has not helped. At 6 weeks, if people are feeling partially better then we encourage more rehabilitation and patience.
Will I need to repeat the PRP injection?
In general, we think of these injections as a single treatment. However, sometimes with bigger injuries or in the larger body parts we will repeat the procedure a few months down the road if the relief has been only partially satisfactory. In general, people that see no benefit from the PRP injection do not opt to have a repeat injection in the same body part. Some patients use PRP intermittently over many years to treat chronic issues like arthritis.
Where can I learn more about PRP?
PRP Injection Consultations & Appointments
Schedule a consultation to discuss your joint pain with our sports medicine experts. We will determine if a PRP Injection is right for you or if another treatment path is advised.
Treating Providers | PRP Injections
We offer Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to patients living and working in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, and throughout New England.