Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a permanent non-operative solution for treating numerous conditions like arthritis and tendon/ligament tears and sprains. Platelets are injected into the damaged joints, ligaments, and tendons during PRP therapy to promote natural tissue repair and accelerate the healing process. The platelets are rich in healing and growth elements, meaning that an injured person will heal and get back to their normal pain-free life in approximately 6 weeks.
PRP treatment was made popular by warriors and professional athletes through the treatment of symptoms like stiffness, swelling, tenderness, pain, and inflammation at the end of the season.
Choosing PRP, a non-operative alternative
PRP offers patients a permanent solution that doesn’t wear off over time like the traditional pain injection. Due to this, PRP treatment can help a patient avoid back surgery and joint replacement surgery. Just like any other kind of treatment, the effectiveness of PRP treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
How PRP injections are administered
Usually, the injection process doesn’t take over an hour. The platelet-rich solution is collected and then injected into the injured muscle, joint, ligament joint, or disc. The doctor should first identify the source of pain that seems not to heal appropriately. If a structure around the spine is getting injected, x-ray guidance is used to ensure proper and safe placement at the affected site. In extreme cases, ultrasound guidance is used. These injections are done under image guidance to guarantee precise PRP placement.
Note that injections vary depending on the condition of a patient. However, they range anywhere from 2-6 injections over time. Most patients normally experience a significant pain reduction after one or two injections.
Generally, PRP injections aren’t painful, but sometimes a patient can feel some discomfort depending on the body part that’s being treated. In most cases, joint injections provide minimal discomfort. If you feel pain after a procedure, over the counter medications can be taken to minimize pain. However, anti-inflammatory drugs must be avoided because they may impede the natural healing process.
When can I experience the results?
Normally, the timeframe for experiencing results depends on the injured area and level of injury. Most patients see signs of improvement in the form of increased function and reduced pain after 4-6 weeks. After the injections, physical therapy is required. Patients should also avoid aggressive physical activity and overworking of the injected tissue. All this helps the tissue to heal faster.
Will I experience certain risks with PRP?
Overall, Platelet-rich plasma is a safe treatment option – patients do not experience allergic reactions because it’s your own blood. But each time a needle is injected into your body, there are risks of bleeding, nerve damage, and infections. Fortunately, these risks are very rare and sometimes vary depending on the area that’s being treated. Be sure to consult a doctor if you are not sure about your condition.
In general, PRP is a useful mode of treatment even though it’s not considered a first-line treatment − it’s only administered after other traditional treatments fail.