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Helping You Heal: Understanding Platelet Rich Plasma Injections

PRP Injections

Important Info to Know About PRP

Many people are just now hearing about the various benefits of platelet-rich plasma, more commonly known as PRP. It’s a relatively new form of treatment that has begun to show real promise in treating a broad spectrum of medical disorders that cause pain or injury. Its versatility combined with the fact that it is a non-operative treatment has made it a popular option amongst those practicing in sports medicine and orthopedics.

What is PRP and How Does it Work?

Platelet-rich plasma is the plasma portion of your blood. As the name indicates, it contains a high concentration of platelets (4-5 times the baseline). Platelets are colorless blood cells that are integral to helping form blood clots. They do this by clumping together to form a stoppage at the point of injury, such as with a broken blood vessel.

The high concentration of platelets present in PRP contain granules full of proteins and growth factors (important for clotting and to promote cell growth). The properties of PRP are based on the production and release of these growth factors when the platelets are activated. Platelets begin secreting these proteins and growth factors within 10 minutes of clotting. In practice, PRP injections are intended to stimulate healing and the growth of new healthy cells in damaged tissues.

What Treatments are PRP Injections Used For?

PRP injections have been used for numerous applications with varying degrees of success, however, the results seen thus far have been promising. It has been used to treat multiple musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, subacromial impingement, osteoarthritis, patellar tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis, pulled hamstrings, and knee sprains.

What is the Process of a PRP Injection?

In the event that your orthopedic doctor recommends a PRP injection to treat your joint pain or other medical issue, the PRP injection breaks down as follows.

First, a sample of your blood will be drawn, the amount of which is dependent on the target site of the PRP injection. The blood sample is then placed into a centrifuge for about 15 minutes, separating the blood components. Once the plasma has been separated, it can be prepared for the PRP injection, which will be administered by your doctor. The entire process on average takes about an hour.

Are There Any Side-Effects to PRP?

Since PRP injections are autologous – meaning they’re derived from the patient’s own body – there are generally minimal to no side effects. Compared to other medications such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid, the chances of an allergic reaction are almost zero, which is part of the reason PRP injections are becoming so popular in terms of treatment.

Although minimal in risk, PRP injections can still cause tissue damage, pain at the injection site, nerve injuries, and infection if not properly administered or cared for once the injection has been given. Mild nausea and dizziness have also been reported in some cases.

What is the Cost of a PRP Injection?

This is a highly subjective question because PRP injections are going to be different depending on the treatment and region of the body it’s administered to. It should also be noted that most PRP injections aren’t covered by insurance, meaning the cost is going to be out-of-pocket and probably more expensive. As of right now, the estimated cost for a PRP injection falls between $500 and $2,000. It is expected that the cost of PRP injections will decrease once they’re a most established form of treatment and more insurance providers cover them.

Are You a Candidate That Can Benefit from PRP?

If you are suffering from one of the aforementioned medical conditions that is causing you pain, you may be an ideal candidate for PRP. However, it’s difficult to know if PRP is the best treatment option for you without first being evaluated. The first step you should take is to schedule an appointment with Mid-America Orthopedics Kansas City. During this appointment, one of our orthopedic specialists will get a detailed medical history, conduct a physical examination, and may potentially take X-rays to determine the root cause of your pain.

Once you’ve been properly evaluated, you will be put on an effective treatment plan, however, PRP injections are usually not the first line of treatment. For further information about PRP and how it can benefit you, speak with your physician at Mid-America Orthopedics.