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Procedure: Platelet Rich Plasma


What is PRP?

PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is a substance made from the patient's own blood to trigger healing. Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is a relatively simple, non-surgical treatment for joint injuries and arthritis. It merges cutting-edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself.


What is the purpose of the procedure?

The PRP is a concentration of platelets, which can jump start healing. Platelets contain packets of growth hormones and cytokines that tell the tissues to increase rebuilding to enhance healing. When PRP is injected into the damaged area, it stimulates a mild inflammatory response, which triggers the healing cascade. This leads to restored blood flow, new cell growth, and tissue regeneration. This may ultimately result in faster healing of soft tissue.


Where does PRP come from?

A sample of blood will be taken from a vein in the arm under sterile conditions. The blood will be placed in a centrifuge, which is a device that spins the blood. This helps to separate the blood cells from the plasma, and allows concentration of the platelets. This concentration of platelets increases healing growth factors approximately 6 to 8 times greater than normal.  The preparation takes about 15 minutes. The finished PRP product is then available for injection into the injured joint or tendon under ultrasound or fluoroscopy. Because PRP is prepared from the patient's own blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. In fact, PRP contains a high concentration of white blood cells, which has an antibacterial property and helps to fight infection.


What are the potential benefits?

PRP enhances the patient's healing potential. It may be an effective and natural alternative to steroid injections. Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms as well as a remarkable return of function. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments such as long-term medication or surgery.


What can I expect during my treatment?

The patient will visit with the doctor, who will ask about their medical history and give them a brief exam to determine if they are a good candidate for PRP therapy. Coastal Bend Pain Management will obtain the blood sample and prepare the PRP. The doctor will examine the area to be treated, sterilely prepare it, and apply numbing medicine. Using ultrasound or fluoroscopy guidance, the PRP will be gently injected into the injured area and joint support tissues. After the treatment, the patient will stay for a 15 to 20 minute observation period. At check out, the patient will schedule a follow up appointment and Coastal Bend Pain Management will review discharge instructions.


What can I expect after the PRP treatment?

The patient may have a mild to moderate discomfort which may last up to 1 week. There may be temporary worsening of symptoms due to a stimulation of the inflammatory response, which is necessary for healing. The doctor will instruct the patient in the use of heat, elevation, reduce activity, and analgesic medication for comfort while the PRP is initiating healing. Also physical therapy or a therapeutic exercise program will be prescribed.


What should I do when I get home following the procedure?

Because Platelet Rich Plasma releases growth factors, it is important to not disturb the area of injection for at least 48 hours. The patient is asked to refrain from activities other than necessary, such as walking or driving in order to receive the maximum benefit of the PRP growth factor stimulation. It is helpful if the patient can be sedentary for 48 hours, and refrain from any vigorous activity for up to 2 weeks following each procedure.


What medications can I take?

Please do not take any anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, or Aspirin. The patient may take Tylenol or may be prescribed an appropriate analgesic, if necessary. If the patient is on an 81mg daily dose of aspirin for cardiovascular reasons, please do not take it within the first 48 hours. The doctor will discuss your other medications and instructions prior to the procedure, and will review instructions again after the procedure is complete.

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