PRP for Joint Pain
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a newer modality of treatment for the management of many orthopaedic conditions including sport injuries. RBC (red blood cells), WBC (white blood cells), plasma, and platelets are the major components of blood. Platelets are small discoid blood cells with granules containing clotting and growth factors which are released during the healing process. On activation, the platelets accelerate the inflammatory cascade as well as healing by the release of the granules containing growth factors. Platelets have an average lifespan of 7–10 days.
How is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Performed?
Your doctor will first draw about 10 ccs of blood from the large vein in your elbow. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge machine for about 10 to 15 minutes to separate the platelets from the remaining blood components.
The injured part of your body is then anesthetized with a local anesthetic. The platelet-rich portion of your blood is then injected into the affected area. In some cases, your doctor may use ultrasound guidance for proper needle placement.
What is the Post-Procedural Care for PRP?
- It is normal to feel some discomfort at the injection site for a few days after your procedure.
- You will be prescribed pain medications as needed by your doctor.
- You may use cold compresses to alleviate your symptoms.
- You will be instructed to stop any anti-inflammatory medications.
- You may resume your normal activities but should avoid any strenuous activities such as heavy lifting or exercises.
What are the Risks and complications of PRP?
There are minimal risks associated with PRP injections. Some of the potential risks include
- Increased pain at the injection site
- Damage to adjacent nerves or tissues
- Formation of scar tissue
- Calcification at the injection site