For patients with arthritis, tendonitis, or minor joint injuries, doctors at the Arthritis and Orthopedic Medical Clinic might recommend adding platelet-rich plasma injections as part of their treatment plan. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a method of using the body’s own anti-inflammatory and healing capabilities to help relieve pain and speed up the healing process in tissue and joints in a way that cortisone injections cannot normally do.
PRP injections are an exciting and relatively new advancement, and high-level research has shown that they can be very successful in treating some kinds of joint inflammation and damage. During this simple outpatient procedure, a patient’s own plasma is injected into the affected area, boosting the body’s ability to reduce inflammation and heal. It is often used as one element in a comprehensive treatment plan, in conjunction with physical therapy or surgery, and it is most effective when used to treat minor inflammation and injury.
Common Questions on PRP Injection
What are PRP injections?
Platelet-rich plasma injections are a technique that takes advantage of the natural healing properties of a patient’s own blood to reduce inflammation and promote healing. A small amount of the patient’s blood is drawn, then spun down in a centrifuge. This separates out red blood cells and isolates the plasma, which has a high concentration of anti-inflammatory and pro-healing platelets. With this process, we are able to concentrate these naturally occurring platelets down to a much higher level than would normally be found in the joints. That plasma can then be used anywhere a patient is having pain or arthritis.
What is the process like for getting PRP injections?
During the outpatient procedure at the doctor’s office, a phlebotomist will draw a small amount of blood, then put it in a centrifuge for about 10 minutes. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the site of the injury or inflammation, like a cortisone injection.
After the injection, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or home exercises to maximize the benefits of the procedure. Because oral anti-inflammatory medications can disrupt normal platelet activity, your doctor will likely recommend not taking them for at least a week before the injection and for about two weeks afterward.
Do PRP injections work?
Research shows that platelet-rich plasma injections can be very effective at decreasing inflammation and repairing minor tears. The treatment is still being researched every day, and despite its high success rate in some cases, the procedure is not a cure-all. The doctors at the Arthritis and Orthopedic Medical Clinic will evaluate your individual circumstances and determine if PRP injections are a good option for you.
How long are PRP injections effective?
Every case varies. For many people, one injection is all they’ll need to help set them on the road to recovery. Additionally, some studies have shown that people who have a good response from one injection often get even more benefit from a second injection two to four weeks later. For people with progressive degenerative diseases like arthritis, your doctor might prescribe additional injections as long as they are showing benefits. However, the goal with other conditions, like tendonitis, is to completely relieve patients of their pain, so the hope is to not need to give more than one or two injections.
Who should get PRP injections?
PRP injections have a wide range of uses, and they are most often used as one part of a complete treatment plan. They can be a good option for people when physical therapy and other treatments have failed, for people who do not want surgery, or for people who cannot undergo certain treatments or medicines, such as those with cortisone allergies. Research indicates that PRP injections can also be effective at reducing pain when used in conjunction with surgery.
Are PRP injections painful?
PRP injections are not especially painful, and for most people the experience is just like getting any other kind of shot. Some sensitive areas, like fingers and toes, can be slightly more painful than others. But the substance itself is not painful, and the doctors at the Arthritis and Orthopedic Medical Clinic use a topical cold spray to numb the skin, making the process as pain-free as possible.
Are PRP injections safe?
This is a very safe procedure. Since the fluid you’re being injected with is your own blood, there’s no worry about allergic reactions or cross-reactivity. The Arthritis and Orthopedic Medical Clinic uses what is known as a closed system to maximize sterility and minimize the risk of infection.
How much do PRP injections cost?
The cost of a PRP injection varies based on several factors, and you will receive a price estimate once you’ve talked with a doctor. The Arthritis and Orthopedic Medical Clinic charges very competitive rates for this procedure and offers a reduced rate for patients getting a second injection in the same joint.
Are PRP injections covered by insurance?
PRP injections are not currently covered by insurance.