PRP Frequently Asked Questions:
What is it?
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is a relatively simple process in which the body’s potent healing factors are concentrated from a sample of blood and re-injected into a damaged or injured area (i.e. knee joint). This is a procedure that can be easily performed in the clinic, and takes approximately 45 minutes.
How does it work?
Platelets are a treasure trove of several healing factors which work to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint, as well as promote healing and improve joint function and decreased pain.
Who is a good candidate?
Studies have show PRP therapy to be effective in treating pain due to arthritis, as well as pain stemming from tendon and ligament injuries.
Are there any side effects?
Since PRP therapy only utilizes your body’s own healing properties there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection of treatment by the body. However, since the growth factors trigger a complex cascade of healing, swelling and discomfort is expected for up to a week after receiving PRP treatment. Because of this expected ‘healing discomfort’, you should plan to have a friend or family member drive you home from the appointment.
Will insurance cover it?
Since insurance companies consider this treatment experimental in the United States insurance will not pay for treatments at this time. We anticipate that as it becomes more popular and widely available this will eventually change.
Are the injections painful?
Some pain should be expected during this procedure. Most local anesthetic is not recommended with PRP because studies have shown they cause deactivation of the crucial growth factors when utilized with PRP therapy. However, we will be using a minimal amount of Ropivacaine to numb the surface. If necessary, our doctors can prescribe a medication to reduce anxiety and pain that may be caused by the procedure.
Will I have swelling or pain after my injections?
The initial reaction to a PRP injection varies from a mild-severe inflammatory response, which may present as swelling, redness, and pain. Typically patients experience some discomfort for only 3-5 days.
When will I be able to exercise after the injections?
This will vary depending on your personal fitness level and response to the injection. You should not exercise until the inflammatory response from the injection has subsided. For most patients this will be anywhere from 5-7 days. We suggest starting with low-impact exercises such as walking or elliptical and slowly increasing your activities until you are able to return to your regular workout routine.
Is there any risk of clotting?
With every injection there is a small chance of clotting. However, since we are injecting your own fluids back into your body there is no risk of clotting with the procedure alone. There may be a risk of clotting if you are prescribed a pain medication. This should be discussed with the physician, as well as any other medications you may be taking.
Are there any reactions that may occur with medications I am currently taking?
There is little risk of reactions to medications, but please let the doctor know if you are on blood-thinning medications since this increases the risk of bleeding. If you are prescribed a medication to ease pain or anxiety there is potential risk that it may interact with your existing medications. For this reason, you should discuss all medications with the physician at your appointment.
Are there any side effects from the injections?
Since PRP is a procedure in which your own fluids are injected back into your body, there is no risk of allergic reaction from the injections. The major side effect is the inflammatory response, as previously mentioned.
Is there anything I can do that will effect the possible outcome?
Yes, other physicians administering PRP injections have noted that patients who take anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDs, in the weeks after their injection have had less impressive results. For this reason we recommend NOT taking any anti-inflammatory medications two weeks leading up to your injection and for a minimum of four weeks following the PRP injection. A rehab program, such as physical therapy may also be recommended by the Reflex physician to support the best possible outcomes.
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