PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

What is PRP?

PRP = Platelet-Rich Plasma. Platelets are normal components of your blood that assist with blood clotting, and contain growth factors. Blood is made up of plasma (fluid), red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The growth factors found in platelets are essential for healing. The process of deriving PRP includes a centrifuge which separates the platelets and plasma from the rest of the blood content. PRP promotes healing by creating an inflammatory response and increasing the number of growth factors and cytokines to the injured area.

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The Procedure

The patient will have blood drawn (usually from the front of the elbow, called the antecubital space) into a syringe. A centrifuge, which spins rapidly to separate the various components of blood based on their size/weight, is then utilized to separate the PRP from whole blood. PRP is then administered through a needle injection to the injured tendon or ligament. The injection is guided by ultrasound imaging to assist with precise placement of the PRP.  Common areas of treatment are joints (knees, hips shoulders), tendons (Patella, rotator cuff, achilles) and ligaments (MCL, UCL, ATFL).

The entire procedure will take approximately 15-30 minutes. 

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Side Effects/Risks

Negative effects from PRP injection include pain and swelling immediately following the administration of the platelets as they release growth factors to the target tissues. The usual duration of procedural pain ranges from 2-3 days and up to 1-2 weeks. Local anesthesia allows for the procedure to be performed with modest pain at the time of injection. Although we counsel patients about possible risks including local infection, bleeding, and damage to nerves, these rarely if ever occur with use of precision ultrasound guidance that clearly displays anatomical targets as well as vital structures. Most commonly patients experience moderate pain after the injection, lasting 3-7 days.

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What to Expect Post Injection?

After the procedure you may be given a brace to be worn for the immediate time period following the injection.  Patients may experience an increase in pain, which should subside within 3-7 days. A course of rehabilitation exercise and/or formal physical therapy will be prescribed. 

*Avoid taking NSAIDS (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen) for 4 weeks post injection. Acetaminophen and ice can be used for pain relief after procedure.

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Potential Benefits of PRP Treatment

  • Decreased pain and improved function.
  • May eliminate the need for pain medications and/or surgery.
  • Patients usually report a gradual improvement in symptoms and return to athletic and work goals.
  • PRP has proven to be a safe procedure with minimal risk

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How Much Does the Injection Cost?

Virtually no insurance coverage is currently available for PRP injections due to the ongoing clinical studies that have not definitively proven benefit above medicines and surgeries currently available. Out of pocket payment at time of service may be required. Please ask clinical staff for more information regarding cost at the time of your consultation. My team will work with you to deliver exceptional care at a reasonable cost.

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When Can I Return to Regular Physical Activities Again?

We recommend having someone drive you to your appointment for PRP injection.  You should not plan on returning to work or school on the day of the procedure, but you will not miss more than a day or so from work or school. Returning to more demanding physical activity is gradual over 2-4 weeks. PRP is not a quick fix. The treatment requires time to deliver the growth factors and healing requires rehabilitation exercises. Your doctor will work with you to determine when you will be able to return to regular physical activities.

 

To schedule an appointment:

Email us at ortho-teambotts@cumc.columbia.edu or call 201-569-4445.

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