Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment of Musculoskeletal Problems
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Platelet rich plasma refers to a sample of blood plasma that has as much as eight times more than the normal amount of platelets. This treatment enhances the body’s natural ability to repair itself and is used to improve healing and shorten recovery time from acute and chronic soft tissue and joint injuries.
Many famous athletes — PGA’s Tiger Woods, NBA’s Steph Curry, MLB’s Alex Rodriguez, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and several others — have received PRP for various problems, such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. This treatment technique is relatively new in the field of sports medicine, but has been gaining popularity quickly. Dr. Meyers has extensive experience with PRP as he has been providing this treatment to patients since 2007.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Plasma is the clear portion of the blood in which all the other blood components such as platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells travel. Platelets are part of the blood that circulate around the body ready to help stop the bleeding should you have a cut, broken bone or injury that bleeds internally. Besides containing clotting factors, the platelets release growth factors and proteins that help start the healing process. PRP contains a concentrated amount of platelets that release potent quantities of these growth factors and proteins to stimulate a robust healing response.
What can I expect after the procedure?
After PRP injection into your joints, there is usually minimal pain. However, with PRP injection into tendon, there is typically moderate pain for the first few days that may require prescription pain medicine. Typically, PRP injections into tendon will require immobilization for a few days after the procedure. Once you return home, you can use ice over the injected area, elevate the leg or arm and limit your activities as much as needed to remain comfortable. You will need to avoid all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naprosyn, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Celebrex and Mobic as these can block the effect of the platelets.
Improvement after PRP injection does not happen overnight. Growing new tendon and healing tissue take time. Most patients see some improvement at one month. But, full improvement can take 10-12 weeks or longer.
After tendon PRP, you will typically need physical therapy to help regain motion, strength, and function. Dr. Meyers and his physical therapy department have developed specific therapy protocols to optimize recovery after PRP treatment.
Is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Safe?
Research and clinical data show that PRP treatments are extremely safe with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication. Because the injected platelets are produced from your own body, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. There is a small risk of infection from any injection, but this is very rare. PRP does not have the risk of negative side effects that can occur with steroid injections or NSAIDs.
What is the success rate of PRP
Published studies suggest an improvement of 80-85% for many soft tissue injuries. In Dr. Meyers’ experience, PRP for chronic tennis elbow is over 90% successful in resolving pain and being able to return to one’s previous level of function including sports. Similar results can be achieved with patellar tendonitis and other areas of tendon injury. PRP for arthritis has been shown to be more effective for pain and last longer than steroids and viscosupplements such as Synvisc, Euflexxa and Supartz.
Does my insurance pay for PRP?
Unfortunately, even though it is highly effective, PRP is still considered experimental and investigational. Therefore, insurance does not cover this treatment.
What is the cost of PRP?
The cost of PRP treatment is $700 for a single area of injury/joint. Additional injuries/joints can be treated at the same time for as little as $200.