PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. It is a substance that is important to promote healing. As you already know that ‘Plasma’ is a blood component that contains several ‘special’ proteins needed for blood clotting. It also has proteins that are essential for cell growth. Experts have produced PRP by separating plasma from your blood and concentrating the same. The idea of using PRP is to stimulate the body so that new and healthy tissues can be developed and promote faster healing. Even though PRP treatment has not been approved yet, it is still used by famous sports personalities like Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods to heal their injuries.
The Purpose of PRP Treatment and Injections
Experts are trying this treatment for different health issues including the ones listed here:
- Hair Loss: Doctors have used PRP injections to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. As per the reports of the Research Trusted Source (2014), these injections are quite effective as they provided outstanding results in Androgenic Alopecia or Male Pattern Baldness.
- Acute Injuries: PRP can also be used to treat acute sports injuries like knee springs, pulled hamstring muscles, etc.
- Tendon Injuries: Tendons are thick and tough bands of tissues connected with the muscle to bone. They are relatively slow to heal if any injury occurs. Some doctors have tried these PRP injections to treat chronic tendon issues like Achilles Tendonitis at ankles, tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, and pain.
- Osteoarthritis: These injections have been used to treat people with osteoarthritis. It is believed that these injections are much more effective than the traditional therapy – Hyaluronic Acid Injections for treating it.
- Post-Surgical Repair: Sometimes these injections are also used to repair torn tendons or ligaments after surgery.
Please note that these injections should only be used by certified and experienced doctors. So, before making any decision, consult with your physician first.
How to Get Ready for PRP Injections?
Well! There are a few important steps to get ready for these injections. However, these injections are typically used in various ways. For instance, sometimes the doctors use a topical numbing – Lidocaine Solution to the scalp
before initiating the PRP treatment. Therefore, you will need to reach the clinic early to get that solution to be applied before the treatment session.
Other times, on the other hand, a local anesthetic is used to reduce the discomfort caused by the PRP. Sometimes, doctors also apply or inject PRP during the surgery. Simply put, you should consult with your doctor about this aspect before moving further.
The Process of PRP Injections
You can expect the following from a ‘typical’ process of PRP injections:
- A doctor will take your blood sample. The amount of this sample greatly depends on the area where PRP injections are going to be injected. For instance, around 20ml. blood will be taken if the injections will be injected into your scalp.
- Then, this sample is placed into the centrifuge – a machine that spins to separate the different blood components. The whole process will take around 15 minutes
- A doctor will take the separated components including plasma to injected in the affected area
- Doctors typically do an ultrasound to identify the particular areas for the PRP injection
How Much Does PRP Treatment Cost?
As per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the cost of this treatment will vary from one location to another and how these injections are used to treat your precise condition. In addition to this, most of the insurance companies consider PRP treatment as an experimental treatment. Therefore, they will not cover the cost of this treatment.
Possible Side Effects of PRP Injections
Since this treatment includes injecting substances into your skin, there are chances of some side effects. PRP is recognized as the Autologous. It means this treatment involves substances that particularly come from your body directly. This eliminates the risks for allergic reactions that may occur from injecting other medications like Hyaluronic Acid or Cortisone. Some potential risks of this treatment may include the following:
- Nerve Injuries
- Tissue Damage
- Pain at the Injected Area
It is also good to discuss all these potential risks with your physician so that you can take the necessary steps to minimize these issues.
Recovery Duration for PRP Injections
While PRP injections are used to treat your issue, the doctor may ask you to take proper rest and take special care of the affected area. However, these suggestions are more related to your injury and less to the PRP treatment. Many people can still go back to their daily routine activities right after the PRP injections.
It is because these injections are used to promote growth or healing, you may or may not observe any immediate difference after treatment. But there are chances that you may notice something after weeks or months. In simple terms, you must ask your doctor about everything – effects, recovery time, potential risks, post-treatment care, cost, etc. to make an informed decision.