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Platelet-Rich Plasma for Spine & Skeletal Disorders

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Platelets are a component of your blood.  They have a variety of functions including promotion of clots to help stop bleeding.  When platelets are activated by means of injury, degeneration or inflammation, they play a key role in the healing of tissues including tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.  Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is simply a concentrated dose of one’s own blood that contains platelets, growth factors, and pro- healing/regenerative substances. 

What are the goals of a PRP Injection?

The use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to promote regeneration and healing of injured tissue has been the most exciting areas of interest in orthopedic medicine, spine care, sports medicine and rehabilitation.   When PRP is injected, it can aid the body’s natural healing of injuries or tissue changes as the result of natural degenerative-inflammatory processes.  The goal is not only to relieve symptoms but also to create actual healing. In some cases, PRP may reduce or even prevent the need for medication and/or surgery.  

Who is being treated by PRP?

PRP treatment has received significant attention from the media and has been used by numerous professional athletes, including NFL and NBA players to accelerate healing. These athletes are trying to avoid frequent steroid injections and they are more interested in repairing the injured and overworked tissue rather than temporarily decreasing inflammation with cortisone injections.  The use of PRP is not limited to professional athletes.  Nowadays, it is offered to any patient with appropriate diagnoses for which PRP can help.

When is a PRP Injection helpful?

This treatment has been used to treat tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone injuries, as well as arthritis.   The following is a shortlist of conditions that PRP can help with:

  • Shoulder:    Shoulder Arthritis, Rotator Cuff Disease, AC Joint Arthritis, Bursitis and Tendonitis

  • Elbow:         Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Epicondylitis, Elbow Joint Arthritis

  • Wrist:           Wrist Tendonitis, De Quervain's Tenosynovitis, Trigger Finger

  • Hip:              Hip Arthritis, Bursitis and Tendonitis 

  • Knee:           ACL Injury, Knee Arthritis, MCL Injury   

  • Ankle:          Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendon and Ankle Ligament Injuries (Rolled Ankle)

  • Spine:          Disc Degeneration, Annular Tear of Disc, Lower Back Pain, Facet and Sacroiliac Arthritis

How is PRP prepared?

PRP injections are prepared from patient’s own blood with strict aseptic technique. The blood is drawn and centrifuged. The resulting activated platelets are injected into the abnormal tissue, releasing growth factors that recruit and increase the proliferation of reparative cells. Ultrasound or x-ray guidance is often used to target the injured or inflamed tissue.  

When should I avoid a PRP Injection?

PRP injections are not recommended for the treatment of infected tissues, in the vicinity of cancer, or in advanced degenerative changes in which PRP has limited application. For professional athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency forbid the injection of PRP into muscles because of the possibility that the growth factors could enhance a person's performance. However, there is currently no data to suggest that PRP is actually a performance-enhancing substance.

What are the potential risks of a PRP Injection?

As PRP is prepared from your own blood, the risk of reaction is low. As with any injection, there is a risk of injury to any structures in the area as well as a low risk of infection.

How many PRP Injections can I have?

A treatment may require a series of 1-3 injections. However, future injections are not recommended if there is no improvement in symptoms with the initial course of treatment.

What to do prior to a PRP Injection?

  1. NO corticosteroid medications for 2 to 3 weeks prior to the procedure

  2. NO aspirin two weeks prior to the procedure

  3. NO non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen, naproxen, or arthritis medications such as Celebrex and Meloxicam), for a week prior to the procedure and 6 weeks after procedure. For a full list please see your provider.

  4. NO anticoagulant medications 5 days before the procedure

  5. Drink plenty of fluids the day before the procedure

What happens after a PRP Injection?

You may experience mild to moderate pain and irritation of the area for several days following the injection. Some doctors may ask patients to limit motion or weight-bearing activity immediately following the injection. The use of a brace, boot or cast may be recommended during the early post-injection course. You are unable to take NSAIDS (Motrin/Aspirin) but may take Tylenol for 6 weeks. Three to seven days after the injection, you may gradually return to normal physical activities. A course of rehab often follows the course of PRP treatment.

What is the cost of a PRP Injection?

There is a large variability on the cost from center to center. We have researched our market and set the rate at 1000 USD per injection which includes all the supplies and use of imaging. As of Summer 2018, insurances do not cover PRP treatment except for some work injury coverage.