Frequently Asked Questions about PRP
What are PRP Injections?
Platelet Rich Plasma Injections are used to stimulate healing using one’s own blood components. The physician will withdraw your blood, put the blood into a centrifuge where the platelets are extracted (platelets are now known to release healing proteins known as growth factors) and then inject that solution directly into the injured site using an ultrasound guided technique to ensure proper placement. These proteins then stimulate repair and regeneration at the site, offering the patient pain relief and quicker healing rates. In most cases, 1-3 injections are required.
What Conditions are Treated with PRP?
PRP Injections can treat a number of conditions for the hip, knee, arm, shoulder, lower leg and feet. It is best to consult with your physician for a complete listing. However, below is an abbreviated list of conditions that can be treated with PRP.
- Acute muscle tears and strains
- Chronic Tendinopathies (tennis elbow, Achilles tendon, patellar tendon and rotator cuff)
- Ligament injuries (ie: medial or lateral collateral ligament—MCL/LCL)
Why Use PRP Injections?
Platelet injections are an alternative to surgery. Ideal candidates would be those who prefer a less invasive option to surgery or those who are unable to undergo a surgery. It also allows for a much quicker recovery period and is much less painful than a surgery.
It is important that patients considering this therapy find a doctor with experience in these types of injections. It is more likely to have a favorable outcome if the doctor administering the injections is experienced and skilled.
How does PRP Work?
A large amount of growth factors are released at the site of injury upon injection. These platelets induce an inflammatory response to initiate healing. The platelets are able to restore tendons and ligamentous proteins as well as strengthen cartilage allowing it to become firmer and more resilient.
Is PRP Painful?
Patients usually tolerate the injection well. However, there can be soreness after the injection due to the PRP-induced inflammatory response. You can expect swelling and soreness during the first 48 hours post injection and are given pain medication to help alleviate the discomfort.
How Quickly does PRP Work?
Most patients see some improvement within 2-6 weeks. The pain becomes less and less as the weeks pass with most clinical trials reporting improvement up to 6-9 months post injection.
Are these Injections Safe?
Platelet injections are safe. Since you are using your body’s own blood components and there are no foreign substances being injected into your body, the injections are considered safe.
However there is some minimal risk involved. During research studies and clinical trials, the only risk noted was that the injection could cause an infection to develop. This is not unique to platelet injections, anytime a person undergoes an injection there is this risk. But because there are no foreign bodies being injected and there is no concern of disease transmission, this therapy is considered to be safe.
Using one’s own body as a healing mechanism is a relatively new concept in the world of medicine, and an exciting one at that. As therapies such as these begin to prove they are beneficial and effective, you will likely see similar therapies develop in other medical areas.
Is there any Patient who would Not Be a Good Candidate for PRP?
Patients with severe anemia, low platelet count, abnormal platelet function, active systemic infection or those with an active cancer are not recommended to be administered PRP.
What is the Future of PRP?
As people seek out alternative options to surgery for injuries and other conditions, therapies such as PRP will become more in demand. Not only are patients excited about it but physicians are as well as it gives them more options to offer their patients. Treating patients with their own body components is revolutionary and more than likely just the beginning of these forms of treatment. Further research will occur and the use of these treatments will continue as long as they prove to be effective.
FAQs about STEM CELLS
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are immature cells that exist in everyone throughout life and have the capability of becoming more specialized cells. Stem cells exist in virtually every organ and tissue, in bone marrow, and in blood. They hold the unique potential to become any of the specialized cell types in our body. Stem cells have two main characteristics: (1) the ability to multiply or self-renew and (2) the ability to “differentiate” — to become different specialized cells.
Where do you get these stem cells?
Stem cells are isolated from three major sources: our bone marrow, our blood, and our tissues such as fat, muscle, heart, skin, etc.
How do we use stem cells for cardiac repair?
One way adult stem cells can repair the heart is by being injected into the heart where they “regenerate” into new heart muscle tissue and new blood vessel cells.
Can blood stem cells be used for stem cell therapy?
Yes. Stem cells are currently used in clinical trials. In fact, several research groups are studying the use of blood stem cells, also known as hematopoietic stem cells. In addition to the well known use in cancer treatment regimens (ie bone marrow transplants) stem cells are currently used in clinical trials for a variety of heart and vascular conditions including: heart failure, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, cardiomyopathy and stroke. To learn about current clinical trials, see www.clinicaltrials.gov. and “Search for Studies.”
How will identifying stem cells in blood help patients?
Identifying stem cells in the blood may determine which patients are most likely to respond to stem cell therapy and indicate those who may not. The types of stem cells in blood can also potentially give you insight into your relative health compared to others in your age category.
Can a blood test show if stem cell therapy would benefit a heart failure patient?
We are studying the different cell populations in blood to help determine which patients may be most likely to respond to stem cell therapy. Right now we have identified stem cells that may be important and are testing them in ongoing studies.
Can one use his/her own stem cells?
Researchers are developing methods to use a patient’s own stem cells for treatment of heart disease. However, this may not be the best source of therapeutic cells, depending on the patient ‘s health. For example, cells from blood, fat tissue, and bone marrow are being investigated. In some cases, doctors may need to utilize cells from a donor.
Are there differences between male and female stem cells?
There are experiments that have shown female stem cells are more potent and have more longevity than stem cells from males.