What is PRP?
PRP or platelet Rich Plasma therapy is an ingenious therapy which uses your body’s own cells to help repair damage to muscle, tendon and ligaments. Blood is withdrawn from YOU…not me, not your friend or worse, an animal! Your blood is withdrawn and then centrifuged (spun) so that the dense white blood cells settle at the bottom. White blood cells are your “Healers” and “Clotters”. When you are injured and tissue is torn white blood cells are attracted to the region and begin to clot or seal the wound. They also release chemicals which attract other cells called Fibroblasts to the area. Fibroblasts are your “builders” and will secrete collagen matrix at the injured site to repair the damaged tissue. The Platelets are then taken up from the centrifuge into a hypodermic needle and injected into the damaged area that we are attempting to heal. Once injected the platelets seek out the injury site and do their magic thereby initiating your body’s natural healing response.
Following the PRP injection you will experience 1-3 days of inflammation. This is NORMAL! Inflammation is your body’s normal response to injury and is actually the first stage of healing. Do not do anything such as icing or taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve or Motrin. Let the inflammation run its course. Trying to stop or reduce it may impede the healing effect. Watch this video to understand healing, inflammation and how your body repairs soft tissue.
After the first three days it is now time for your body to move from the inflammatory phase to the repair phase. During the repair phase it is critical to protect the area from further injury as well as begin safe and effective rehabilitation practices. Gentle stretching, light massage and isometric exercises are typically employed day ten following the PRP injection. Any exercise or activity that causes an increase in pain is a negative and should be avoided. Pain is your body’s way of telling you damage is occurring and you should stop it. There is no cookie cutter rehabilitation program due to the wide variety of injuries we see and the varying fitness and strength levels of the patients we treat.
It is appalling to me how many patients are mismanaged due to a lack of understaning of how PRP works. Incredibly many get injected with PRP do not seem to have a good understanding of what PRP is and how it works. This is inexplicable and inexcusable yet it happens regularly. I have had patients with torn tendons receive PRP and be told that they can run in three days!! Let’s get this straight. PRP is not injecting unicorns and rainbows into your body and has no magical powers. PRP uses your body’s natural healing agents by directing them purposely onto the injured tissue. This allows for maximum healing results. The laws of physics still apply and nothing your uninformed doctor says will change that. Most muscle, tendon and ligament injuries will require 6-12 weeks for maximum healing assuming no further damage is sustained during the healing period. Muscle will heal quickest then tendon and finally ligament. Tendons and ligament heal more slowly due to their relative lack of blood supply compared to muscle. Since blood has everything your body needs to heal (Oxygen, vitamins and nutrients) efforts are made to maximize blood flow to the injured area during the healing stages.
Do I have to be an Athlete to get PRP?
No. PRP works well for anyone that has suffered muscle, tendon or ligament injury. It is primarily used in chronic cases concerning tendons and ligaments that are not healing. PRP can be used for weekend warriors, sedentary folks and athletes. See list of Pro Athletes who received PRP in 2016
My doctor says there is not enough or no research to support using PRP
There is a plethora of positive research regarding PRP and the healing of soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) injuries. Here is a link to the National Library of Medicine and some PRP research.
Platelet-rich plasma treatment improves outcomes for chronic proximal hamstring injuries in an athletic population.
Outcomes after ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma injections for chronic tendinopathy: a multicenter, retrospective review.
Effect of High-Volume Injection, Platelet-Rich Plasma, and Sham Treatment in Chronic Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Double-Blinded Prospective Study.
[Evidence-based therapy for tendinopathy of the knee joint : Which forms of therapy are scientifically proven?]
Utilization of Platelet-Rich Plasma for Musculoskeletal Injuries: An Analysis of Current Treatment Trends in the United States.
How much does PRP Cost?
PRP injections range from $500-$2000 cash in the USA. Some people are told they need multiple injections which flies in the face of physiology and reason.
Our clinic uses a specialist that we have made a deal with to perform injections at our directive for $500 cash. We do not do PRP in House–we refer out for this procedure. A detailed exam must me performed to determine whether PRP is something that can help your condition or injury. PRP at this time is not covered by insurance and even if it was you would probably have to wait a year or two before you could actually get it. After our initial exam we can have your PRP appointment set within 2 weeks.
What if I don’t live in San Diego?
Come visit us! We are conveniently located 15 minutes from San Diego Airport in Kearny Mesa. We have a 4-Points Sheraton just 3 blocks away with excellent rates and an airport shuttle. As long as we schedule everything ahead of time you can be seen in our office, diagnosed accurately and receive your PRP injection all in one day. We can follow up with you via email, telephone or Skype and help manage your reh