During Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) in Soldotna, your doctor draws your blood to concentrate it and use it to help heal a number of different conditions such as tendinitis, chronic tendon injuries, sprains, acute muscle and ligament injuries, arthritis , and more.
To understand the PRP procedure, it helps to know a little about the platelets found in your blood and how they promote the quick healing of injuries.
Natural Healing Ability of Your Platelets
You have platelets in your body. They are a type of cell that is in your bloodstream. Your platelets can be considered powerful healers and PRP therapy magnifies this power.
Platelets are among two other types of cells: your white blood cells (called leukocytes) and your red blood cells (called erythrocytes).
- Your white blood cells help to fight off infection.
- Your red blood cells carry the carbon dioxide and oxygen
- Your platelets clot (thicken) and heal body tissues that are injured. It's your platelet cells that clot the blood when you get a cut and help your body to heal it.
Your platelets have what are known as growth factors (proteins) which make this healing process work. If you didn't have them, your body wouldn't be able to heal itself, meaning it couldn't control inflammation, heal your tissues, and then create new skin. It also wouldn't be able to stimulate blood flow and enhance collagen production, which is also very important in your body being able to heal itself.
Common injuries that PRP therapy is used for include:
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Elbow injuries
- Severe hamstring pulls
- Damaged Achilles tendon
- Tears to the rotator cuff
- Quadriceps injuries
- Knee arthritis
Musculoskeletal injuries are quite common and lead to physical disability and severe chronic pain. Millions of people are affected worldwide by these types of injuries. It can significantly impact your life, which is why doctors aim to provide you with the safest and complete recovery as possible while attempting to get you back to pre-injury level.
Overview of the PRP Process
Your platelets are collected and concentrated into an injection that is administered to you providing you with an estimated five times or more the amount of growth factors you would ordinarily receive just by using regular blood. There is no risk of contamination, infection or mismatch that could cause rejection to the injection since it comes from your own blood.
Platelet rich plasma therapy in Soldotna typically only takes a couple of hours to perform and is fairly easy. It is an outpatient procedure, so you won't have to stay the night in the hospital. You are asked to drink lots of fluids before the procedure to stay hydrated, which makes it easier for the doctor to draw your blood. Other than that, there really are no other preparations needed. You can eat and drink normally.
You do, however, have to discontinue using any NSAIDs, like naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin), a week before you get the PRP procedure done. This is the same case for corticosteroids as well since they can interfere with your therapy. You are not to use them immediately after your procedure either.
Drawing Your Blood
The first step in the procedure is to draw your blood. Your doctor only needs a couple ounces of your blood for PRP therapy. This part of the procedure works much the same as any other blood test where the doctor inserts a needle into your vein and fills a small vial up with your blood from your arm.
Spinning Your Blood
Next is the centrifuge process. This is where your blood is spun in a device at high speeds. The reason behind this is so the doctor can separate the liquid and solid parts of your blood (the blood cells and platelets we talked about earlier).
Preparing the PRP Injection Area
Before you receive the injection, the site needs to be cleaned first. Typically, iodine, alcohol or Betadine
(dark brown disinfecting liquid that is odorless and doesn't sting) is applied to the area to rid it of any possible microorganisms that could cause infection.
Your Soldotna doctor will likely give you a local anesthetic into the area to keep you numb and comfortable during the procedure. It takes a few minutes for you to feel the effect and the doctor will usually wait at least 20 minutes to ensure it has taken full effect.
An alternative to a local anesthetic is using ultrasound probes, which block the nerves in the area giving you the same effect. You may prefer this method or may require it depending on where your injury is and how bad it is.
The PRP Therapy Injection
If you have scar tissue in the area, your physician creates pathways in order to inject the PRP. To do this, he punctures the tissue a few times using what is known as a PNT needle process (a small needle that pokes through your skin with multiple needling).
Your doctor then injects the PRP. He may use an ultrasound ( a type of imaging) to see inside your body and guide him to ensure the PRP injection makes it to the correct area. This will pop the image up on a screen for him to view as he navigates. During the ultrasound, he applies a gel to the area and uses a wand to transmit the image.
You should have no problem getting back to your regular routine following your injection. You may notice some tenderness or the area may be swollen since the area is filled with fluid by the injection. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat any discomfort you may experience. It's important that you remember not to use any NSAIDs for pain relief since they can interfere with your therapy.
It's rare, but you could have post-procedural pain, which could be the result of inflammation the PRP therapy might cause.
You will not see results overnight. In fact, it will take weeks before the healthy tissue is regenerated and you are free of pain. However, many patients find this is much better than having to wait months for pain relief like you would if you didn't get the PRP injection.
To learn more about how Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections might help with your injury and to book your appointment, contact us here at Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna at (907) 262-7566.