Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
to Treat Common Painful Conditions
Do you have a chronic health condition, but you cannot find a solution or a cure? Have you ever heard about platelet rich plasma?
We will explore platelet rich plasma so you can understand all of the benefits, risks, and costs associated with this service.
? What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet rich plasma (abbreviated PRP) is a new treatment used for some common painful conditions. PRP is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood, and these platelets have growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries.
Growth factors are chemicals that signal the body to initiate a healing response. By injecting PRP into areas of an injury, the hope is to stimulate and optimize your body’s ability to heal the chronic conditions.
? What PRP Can Be Used For?
PRP has been used in operating rooms for several decades to help with wound healing, and to stimulate bone formation in spinal fusion surgery.
Recently, PRP has been used in outpatient settings for treatment of common overuse conditions including:
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Tennis Elbow
- Patellar Tendonitis
? How is PRP Obtained?
PRP is obtained from the patient. Blood is withdrawn from a vein in the patient’s arm and the blood is placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins at a high speed to separate the different types of blood cells. The physician extracts the platelet-rich portion of the blood, and injects this into the area of injury.
The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia has the best centrifuge on the market with the ability to extract the most platelets.
? How PRP is Injected?
PRP injections are given as soon as the blood has been spun and the platelets separated. Our physicians may choose to add an “activating agent,” usually either thrombin or calcium chloride.
Studies have shown that the tendons being injected can also activate the PRP, so the activating agent may not be necessary for this type of injury. There is no clear science to justify a particular quantity of PRP and number of injections needed. Most physicians perform one injection, although sometimes PRP injections are given as a series of injections over a span of several weeks.
? Is PRP Effective?
We know from laboratory studies that PRP can help increase certain growth factors that are important in the healing process. What we do not know is if this makes any difference in healing when PRP is injected into an injured part of the body.
Clinical studies that have been done so far do not clearly demonstrate if PRP is more effective than other treatments. While there are reports of cases of success, it is not known if these successes are better, or worse, than other standard treatments.
Currently, investigations are underway to determine if PRP is more helpful than other treatments for chronic tendonitis.
? What is the Cost of PRP?
PRP injections are not covered by most insurance plans, so there is a fee for providing this service. If your insurance does not cover these injections, you can try to appeal to the insurance provider, but because there is little scientific evidence to support PRP use, the likelihood of coverage may be low.
? What are the Risks of PRP?
Side effects are uncommon, but they are possible. Whenever a needle is inserted through the skin, infection can occur. The other more common side effect of PRP injections is an increase in inflammation and pain after the injection.
PRP injections are not recommended in individuals with bleeding disorders, those taking anti-coagulation medications (e.g. Coumadin), or those who have cancer, active infections, or are pregnant.
PRP Injections at Our Office
PRP injections can be done in our office in Brunswick, Georgia. The procedure takes about 30 minutes in order to withdraw the blood, spin the blood in the centrifuge, and inject the PRP into the injured area.
If you are interested in PRP injections, call our office today to schedule your appointment.