PRP Therapy for Sports Injuries and Avoiding Joint Replacement
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a new treatment in pain management and orthopedics, used to repair and heal degenerative joints, as well as injured body structures. Platelet cells have growth factors that help with tissue repair and joint regeneration. With PRP therapy, the platelet cells are concentrated and inserted into a joint or body region.
What conditions are treated with PRP therapy at Colorado Clinic?
PRP therapy has been used for wound healing in surgery for several decades. In addition, it is effective for treating sports injuries, such as knee ligament tears, rotator cuff tears, tendon damage, as well as degenerative arthritis.
How does PRP therapy work?
Experts are not sure exactly how PRP injections work to alleviate symptoms and heal tissues. However, it is theorized that platelet-rich plasma:
- Increases the production of synovial joint fluid, which is a lubricating substance in the joint. This makes the joint move smoothly and decreases friction.
- Inhibits inflammation, which slows down the progression of arthritis.
- Stimulates formation of new cartilage in the body.
- Contains proteins that work on pain receptors, which reduces pain sensations.
There are seven growth factors in platelet rich plasma therapy, and they help to heal injured tissues significantly. It’s been an exciting treatment.
How is the PRP procedure done?
PRP comes from the patient’s own blood. The nurse will draw several vials of blood from the patient’s vein, and then process this blood in a centrifuge, which spins at a high speed to separate the platelets from the other blood components. The Boulder pain management doctor injects the concentrated platelets into the injured structure or joint. An activating agent (calcium chloride or thrombin) may be added to the platelets. The entire procedure takes around 30 minutes.
What can I expect after a PRP injection?
After PRP therapy, you will remain in the doctor’s office for 15-20 minutes. We ask that you rest the remainder of the day, and take it easy for a few days. Use ice to the injected area for 20 minutes, 3-4 times each day. Avoid anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen) for 2 weeks. In addition, a follow-up examination will be scheduled 1-2 weeks after the injection.
Does PRP therapy work?
According to laboratory studies, PRP increases growth factors needed for healing the body. In animal studies, PRP has been found to improve healing of bone and soft tissue. In humans, researchers have noted an increased number of cells along with improved tendon strength in patients with Achilles tendon injuries. According to another study, PRP treatment worked well for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). In addition, PRP was found to work better than hyaluronic acid injections (Synvisc) for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.
How much does PRP therapy cost?
PRP injections are new, and most insurance plans will not cover them. If your insurance will not cover these injections, you can attempt to appeal this to your insurance provider. Most doctors charge around $850 for one injection, but this varies, depending on the procedure.
What are the risks and side effects of PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is safe, but there are some complications to consider. These include infection, bleeding, and increased pain. If you have a bleeding disorder, or are on anti-coagulation medication, be sure to tell the doctor before the injection. Certain medicines, like Coumadin, must be held for several days before the injection. An expected side effect of PRP is increased pain for the first 48-72 hours after the injection. This occurs when inflammatory mediators and growth factors begin to work.