Our blood consists of a liquid component known as plasma. It also consists red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets play an important role in forming blood clots. They also consist of special proteins, known as growth factors, which help with our body’s healing process. Platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a high concentration of platelets and plasma. A normal blood specimen contains only 6% platelets, while platelet-rich plasma contains 94% of platelets and 5 to 10 times the concentration of growth factors found in normal blood. These two factors facilitate healing.
PRP is a relatively new method of treatment for several orthopedic conditions such as muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries; arthritis; and fractures. PRP injections can help alleviate painful symptoms, promote healing, and/or delay joint replacement surgeries.
Your doctor will first draw about 10 ccs of blood from the large vein in your elbow. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge machine for about 10 to 15 minutes to separate the platelets from the remaining blood components. Following injection of a local anesthetic, the platelet-rich portion of your blood is then injected into your affected area.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medications following the injection of PRP since many people experience some discomfort at the injection site for a few days after the injection
Cold compresses may be recommended to alleviate your symptoms. Your doctor may restrict strenuous activities and exercises following the injection. You should also stop taking anti-inflammatory medications.