Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a high concentration of platelets, which are injected into a joint or damaged tissue. Platelets are blood cells that contain healing proteins to accelerate healing to a specific area. The process uses the patient’s blood cells through a blood draw and is prepared using a centrifuge. This process yields a higher concentration of platelets about 5-7 times greater than normal blood. Next, an ultrasound is used to identify the affected area. The skin is cleaned, and a numbing agent is injected following the PRP injection. The ultrasound-guided injection allows for great precision and accuracy.
PRP is used to treat those with:
– Joint arthritis
– Rotator cuff injuries
– Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow
– Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis
– Back and neck arthritis
– Chronic ligament and tendon injuries
Frequently asked questions about PRP treatment:
Q: Are PRP injections painful?
A: Patients typically have mild discomfort. PRP works to stimulate healing, discomfort is a sign that the treatment is working as it should. Your physician may prescribe you medication to help alleviate discomfort.
Q: How many injections will I need?
A: The number of injections depends on the injury. Most soft-tissue injuries respond to one treatment. For osteoarthritis patients, a series of three injections each spaced a month apart has been shown to yield the best results.
Q: Will the results last?
A: Unlike cortisone, PRP is intended to fix and correct the problem. For arthritis, there is no “cure”. However, PRP is an excellent option to relieve and improve pain and function. For PRP injections, a yearly booster is suggested to keep your joints operating at their best.
Q: How long until I see results?
A: The results are gradual. Typically, patients will notice a difference in pain level within a few weeks to a few months.
Q: Is PRP treatment covered by insurance?
A: Not all insurances cover PRP injections. Please check with your insurance carriers. TRICARE does offer coverage for those diagnosed with chronic knee osteoarthritis and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
Symptoms of overuse injuries include:
If you suspect you may be suffering from an overuse injury, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Talk to a TPMG provider today about how you can find relief from your symptoms.