Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma injection therapy, often called PRP injection therapy, is a type of regenerative medicine that promotes healing from within. This treatment ramps up the body’s natural recovery process for tendon injuries and osteoarthritis, helping patients avoid unnecessary or unwanted surgery.
Platelet-rich plasma is blood plasma enriched with disk-shaped, clear cell fragments known as platelets. Plasma is composed of water and other nutrients, which the body on to circulate platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells through the body.
Platelets are the blood cells responsible for clotting and other essential functions related to the body’s healing process. The average human has somewhere around 150,000 to 350,000 platelets. When one’s platelet count dips too low, they are at risk for excessive bleeding and other complications. This makes it difficult to bounce back after a serious injury.
PRP injection therapy is beneficial because of the essential role that platelets play in your body’s ability to repair itself. Increasing your platelet count helps you recover quickly from injuries or other ailments, which is why many athletes request and receive PRP injection therapy at NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine.
How Does PRP Work?
Platelet-rich plasma helps speed up the body’s natural healing process. PRP also helps patients heal hard-to-treat ailments that don’t respond well to other treatments.
When blood cells are concentrated and then injected into a specific region of the body, those cells immediately begin creating new structures and rebuilding weakened systems. This is a relatively natural process since nothing extra is added to the plasma. PRP injection therapy uses a patient’s own blood, which reduces the risk of an infection or allergic reaction.
PRP works well for a variety of health concerns, from tendonitis to chronic back pain. The effectiveness of PRP injection therapy varies by patient, but some athletes resume their usual activities after just a few weeks. Sometimes it takes a few months before a patient experiences noticeable results.
What Happens During a PRP Injection Therapy Appointment?
After you meet with a pain management specialist at NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine for a consultation, he or she will review treatment options. If you and our knowledgeable team decide PRP injections are right for you, you’ll schedule another appointment for the procedure.
PRP Therapy is an outpatient treatment that takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. Injections are performed by an experienced doctor from our team after you complete a few documents with one of our nurses. After that, a doctor performs an exam to make sure your body is healthy enough for PRP injection therapy.
Once the doctor deems you fit to undergo the procedure, they begin drawing blood from your body. After collecting enough blood, the doctor processes the fluid in a centrifuge machine. The machine quickly spins around for approximately 15 minutes, and then discards any weak plasma so that only platelet-rich plasma remains. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into your body at the site where you have pain, an injury or another ailment. You may receive a local anesthetic first.
After injection treatment, we recommend that patients take it easy for a bit. Heavy lifting or rigorous activities should be avoided, and abstention from smoking and alcohol consumption is recommended as well. You may also need an ice pack to decrease swelling at the injection site.
Who Is a Good Candidate for PRP Injection Therapy?
You may have seen PRP in the news. Numerous famous athletes (including Tiger Woods, Hines Ward, and the late Kobe Bryant) all received PRP injection therapy at some point. However, professional athletes aren’t the only people who can benefit from PRP injection therapy.
You might be a good candidate for PRP injection therapy if any of the following apply:
- You have tendonitis, tennis elbow or jumper’s knee.
- You have low back pain.
- You have an acute injury, such as a sprained knee.
- You have chronic pain from a sports injury.
- You have a torn rotator cuff.
- You have osteoarthritis.
- Your body needs some extra help recovering from surgery.
- You have a hard-to-heal ailment that hasn’t reacted well to other treatments.
Some medical providers also use PRP injection therapy for hair loss. Plasma is injected in the scalp to stimulate growth and reduce the risk of hair loss. This treatment often works well for patients with male pattern baldness.
Who Should Avoid PRP Injection Therapy?
Many patients rave about the results they get from PRP injection therapy at NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine. However, this medical treatment isn’t a good fit for every patient.
PRP injection therapy may not be a safe or practical choice for you if any of these statements are true:
- You have cancer.
- You are anemic.
- You have abnormal platelet function.
- You have a low platelet count.
- You are currently recovering from an infection or other ailment.
- You are pregnant or nursing.
If you are a good candidate for PRP injection therapy, we may ask you to make some lifestyle changes before starting, such as:
- Avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen or other blood thinners near your procedure date.
- Limiting or avoiding omega-3 fatty acids and other supplements.
- Abstaining from heavy drinking, cigarette smoking and illegal drug use.
You may need to begin making lifestyle changes a few weeks before your injections and maintain them during the recovery process. Doing so is important because it helps your body prepare for platelet removal and recovery.
We may also ask that you eat before PRP injection therapy, especially if you get weak easily when you’re hungry or have blood drawn. Our team will discuss any limitations or restrictions with you prior to your procedure date so you can prepare.
Is PRP Injection Therapy Safe?
PRP injection therapy is generally deemed safe, but like any medical procedure, it carries some risks. It’s important to be honest about your medical history and lifestyle with our team so we can make sure PRP injections are suitable for your body. Some patients are not good candidates for the procedure.
It’s unlikely that you will react to the platelet-rich plasma itself, as it comes directly from your own body. However, you may experience irritation or infection at the injection site. Nerve injuries and tissue damage are also possible.
The risk of infection and other complications increases if you ignore post-procedure instructions, so please be careful. Feel free to call us if you need clarification about any part of the procedure, from the initial consultation to post-injection recovery guidelines.
Learn More about the Benefits of PRP Injection Therapy
At NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine, we know you’re anxious to get back on the field or resume your regular activities. PRP injection therapy can help you repair damaged tissue and regain confidence in your athletic abilities. Connect with us today to learn more about how PRP injections can benefit you, whether you’re struggling with a pulled hamstring or painful osteoarthritis problems.
In addition to PRP injection therapy, we offer numerous other therapeutic and diagnostic injections. You may also benefit from treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care or Micro-Vas therapy. Visit one of our New Jersey offices for your pain management needs so you can get back to enjoying life again. We look forward to meeting you!