Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is an “autologous blood therapy” that uses a patient’s own blood components to stimulate a healing response in damaged tissues. In response to an injury or tissue damage, your body naturally recruits platelets and white blood cells from the blood to initiate a healing response. Under normal conditions, platelets store numerous growth factors which are released in response to signals from the injured tissue. Modern technology allows doctors to concentrate platelets and white blood cells from your blood, and induce this growth factor release as they inject the solution directly into injured tissue, simulating this same healing response in a more powerful form.
By enhancing the body’s natural healing capacity, the treatment may lead to a more rapid, more efficient, and more thorough restoration of the tissue to a healthy state. PRP is used as a treatment option for back pain, spinal nerve inflammation, facet joint arthritis, disc herniation or tear and interspinous ligament sprain.
Before the Procedure
- Following a formal evaluation and diagnostic workup, an individualized treatment plan will be discussed with you.
- A full explanation of the procedure including risks and benefits will be reviewed.
During the Procedure
- Once written consent is obtained, blood is drawn from your arm and placed in a special processing unit, which separates platelets, white blood cells and serum from red blood cells.
- The platelets and white blood cells are then concentrated and collected into a sterile syringe. (Some of the blood is used to create an “activator” of the PRP.)
- The skin and soft tissue are anesthetized with local anesthetic, followed by injection of both the PRP and activator into the tissue targeted for treatment.
- Depending on the size of the injured tissue, one or several needles are inserted to optimize placement of the PRP.
After the Procedure
- Depending on the severity and duration of your injury, one to three PRP injections are suggested.
- Following the initial treatment with PRP, a follow-up visit occurs 2-3 weeks later.
- At this visit, an evaluation of your response to the initial therapy is performed and a decision is made regarding the need for additional PRP treatments.
- In general, chronic injuries require more than one injection. In both acute and chronic injuries, injections may be combined with an exercise or physical therapy program to enhance the success of the treatment.