David W. Kruse, MD - Certified Sports Medicine Physician <Orthopaedic Specialty Institute
 
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Musculoskeletal Procedures

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Our blood consists of a liquid component known as plasma. It also consists of three main solid components which include the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets play an important role in forming blood clots. They also consist of special proteins, known as growth factors, which help with our body’s healing process. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a high concentration of platelets and plasma. A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets, while platelet-rich plasma contains 94% of platelets and 5 to 10 times the concentration of growth factors found in normal blood, thus greater healing properties.

Indications

PRP is a relatively new method of treatment for multiple orthopedic conditions. The medical literature shows strong evidence to support the use of PRP for tendon injuries. It can also be considered for other conditions such as arthritis, and muscle or ligament injuries.

Procedure

Your doctor will first draw about 10 cc of blood from the large vein in your elbow. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge machine for 5-10 minutes to separate the platelets from the remaining blood components.

The platelet-rich portion of your blood is then injected into the affected area. The procedure is always done under ultrasound guidance for proper needle placement.

Post-Procedural Care

  • It is normal to feel discomfort at the injection site for 1-2 weeks after the procedure, but this can be variable depending on the site of the injection.
  • You will be prescribed pain medications by your doctor.
  • You will be instructed to stop any anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Activities will be restricted typically for 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
  • In some cases, the area is immobilized for a 1-2 week period of time to protect the area of injection.

Risks and complications

There are very minimal risks associated with PRP injections. Some of the potential risks can include the following, but are very rare:

  • Infection
  • Damage to adjacent nerves or tissues
  • Formation of scar tissue
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