Northeast Knee and Joint Institute has had many patients over the past several years come to our offices to receive platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections as part of their treatment plan. PRP treatment can be utilized for many different soft tissue and tendon/ligament related ailments.
PRP treatment has been utilized in Europe for over 20 years now, professional athletes have been seeing the benefits of this treatment for as long. Until recently, athletes and interested patients would travel overseas for such treatment. Finally, approximately 5-6 years ago this treatment was approved for use in the United States!
There are many ways that PRP can safely and effectively treat many ailments or injuries.
When combined with our osteoarthritis Knee Relief Program, PRP has been shown to drastically increase the joint’s ability to recover. Due to the fact that PRP uses the patient’s own blood, we are utilizing the patient’s own healing factors. These are the same growth factors that heal a person when they are recovering from a cut or wound. They are being concentrated injected into an area that is injured or not vascular (does not normally receive much/ if any blood flow) The regenerative properties of the platelets are targeted towards the injury site. This helps to aid and speed up the recovery process by addressing the injury directly, and PRP offers long-term healing benefits.
Our PRP Therapy has attracted patients from throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and the tri-state area. Why? Because it really works! PRP is a safe and effective approach to healing using your own blood and could possibly eliminate the need for surgery!
The PRP Process
Platelet-rich plasma involves taking a small sample of the patient’s blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to concentrate and separate the platelets and plasma from the other components of your blood. This concentrated solution is then injected back into the body at the injury site.
But WHY does PRP work?
Platelets are the part of the blood that contain growth factors and proteins. These are very important in the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue. PRP Therapy works by accelerating the body’s own healing process and bringing the healing to areas in the body that would not normally receive this healing. Your body’s joints, tendons and ligaments receive limited blood flow; therefore in most cases, it is very difficult for these areas to heal on their own. Injecting one’s own PRP directly to the injury site works by encouraging the growth and regeneration/healing of new, healthy cells.
What injuries can PRP help?
There are many ways that PRP can safely and effectively treat many ailments or injuries. Weakened ligaments and tendons cause the majority of the pain and damage related to joints. Some of the most common injuries that have benefitted from our PRP Therapy are:
- Osteoarthritis of the major joints (knee, shoulder, ankle, hip and spine
- Rotator cuff strains and tears
- Torn meniscus injuries
- Tendonitis and ligament sprains
- Chronic knee pain (arthritis or injury)
- Muscle strains, trigger points
- Tendonosis (Tennis Elbow)
- Carpal tunnel
Our platelet rich plasma treatments strengthen these weak tissues, leading to improved joint and muscle functions with significantly less pain.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the PRP Process.
In a previous blog, we provided an overview of the PRP Process. This outlines what protocols you can expect prior to and after your treatment, as well as how the procedure is performed. Depending on your particular injury, one to multiple sessions of platelet-rich plasma may be required. We work with our patients to create an ideal plan for each individual to provide the best chance of a successful outcome.
PRP Pre-Procedure Guidelines
Prior to your PRP Therapy session, our physician will discuss what to expect during your treatment. However, it is helpful to remember that there are a few things to take into consideration before your session:
- At least five days before your procedure, discontinue anti-inflammatory medications
- One week before your procedure, discontinue any blood thinning herbs or supplements
- One to two weeks before your procedure, discontinue systematic steroids
- At least one month before your procedure, discontinue steroid injections
- On the day of your procedure, eat a full, healthy breakfast and be sure to drink plenty of water.
Please be advised that if you take chronic oral steroids, a discontinuation plan will need to be discussed with your primary care provider as abrupt stoppage may cause side effects. Northeast Knee and Joint Institute does not advise stopping or taking any medication regimens without first consulting the doctor that prescribed them to you.
PRP: Post-Procedure Guidelines
After your PRP Therapy session, we recommend that all patients rest on the day of their procedure. For the next 2 days, we advise limited use of the injection area, but movement is encouraged. This helps the joint recover as the injection is absorbed by the area’s surrounding tissues.
0 – 3 days post-procedure guidelines.
After your treatment, there is a chance you’ll experience some mild to moderate pain or discomfort at the injection site. This is normal, and it is a sign that your body is healing as it adjusts to the injection. It is best to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to help promote healing.
It is critical that you DO NOT take ANY medications following your procedure unless specifically directed otherwise by a physician. This is because any medication can affect the healing process or other adverse effects.
Therefore, discontinue use of any of these medications post-procedure for best results:
- Anti-inflammatory medications for at least 4 weeks post-procedure
- Blood-thinning herbs, supplements, or vitamins for 21 days post-procedure
- Systematic steroids for 6 weeks post-procedure
Other important guidelines to follow after your PRP procedure are:
- Avoid applying ice or heat to the injection site for the first 72 hours post-procedure
- Don’t take a hot bath or go to a sauna for the first few days post-procedure
- Avoid consumption of any alcoholic beverages for 2 days post-procedure
- Avoid baths for the first 24 hours following your procedure
- Avoid smoking
4 weeks post procedure guidelines.
At this point in your healing, you should gradually increase your daily activities. This is also when you can begin exercises. Proper exercise is a vital part of long-term results, and we can help you determine which exercises are best suited for your needs prior to your procedure.
- Ice can be applied 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes as needed for comfort
- Anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen) can be taken to help manage any residual pain at this time, take as directed
- Continue to avoid alcoholic beverages, smoking, or excessive amounts of caffeine
5 weeks post-procedure guidelines.
At this point in your healing, we highly encourage you to begin physical therapy to aid in your long-term healing and continued recovery. A follow-up appointment will be made for you to meet with our physician or medical team to review your healing process. It is important that you keep this follow up visit even if your recovery is going well. If there are any adjustments to your customized treatment plan, this is when our physician will be able to make those decisions.
The road to recovery starts at Northeast Knee and Joint Institute!
Traditional medicine typically treats tears and soft tissue joint related ailments by utilizing corticosteroid injections or surgery. We encourage you to do your own research; studies show surgery may cause scar tissue to develop and corticosteroid treatments are typically short term and not regenerative.
At Northeast Knee and Joint Institute, we believe in using a patient’s own stem cells and PRP healing factors, which are then injected back into the patient’s body at the site of injury or pain. In addition to PRP, we also offer using a person’s own stem cells and essentially “turbocharging” them, by adding billions of additional growth factors through our special proprietary process. By doing so, stem cells and PRP can provide more effective regeneration and help the body heal. These treatments can offer relief from pain and get a person back to a healthy and active lifestyle. Many patients begin to feel relief after just one treatment, which may even be a permanent result.
The road to your recovery is just as important to us as it is to you! Therefore, if you have any questions along the way, it would be our pleasure to discuss them with you. We look forward to working with you on your journey to improved health.
Additional resources: PRP pre-procedure and post-procedure guidelines.
If you are looking for additional resources, you can review and save our Pre-Procedure Guidelines, Post-Procedure Guidelines, or both and print them for your own records. And we encourage you to contact us at Northeast Knee and Joint Institute with any questions or concerns you have regarding your PRP treatment.