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What is PRP and How Can it Help Me?

Posted on: September 3rd, 2021 by Our Team

What exactly is PRP?

PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. During this procedure a small sample of blood will be drawn from your arm. This sample is then placed into a centrifuge and spun for about 5-15 minutes (depending on the system utilized). This machine helps to separate the blood sample into different layers. Blood is composed of multiple different elements including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. After the blood has spun a special syringe is used to collect only the layer that contains the platelet rich plasma. This is then injected into the target site under sterile precautions. We use ultrasound guidance in our San Diego office to enhance our accuracy and locate the precise area of injury.

How does it work?

The goal of PRP is to cause a strong inflammatory response. But, doesn’t inflammation cause pain you may ask? Yes, this is true. Inflammation can cause pain, however, it is also an important signal to your body that there is an injury and it needs to recruit an army of cells to heal the area. The PRP contains many growth factors that are very important to this process. The growth factors work by stimulating cell growth and tissue repair.

What can PRP be used for?

  • Partial tears of tendons: (i.e rotator cuff, patellar tendon, Achilles tendon, etc.)
  • Chronic tendonitis
  • Cartilage defects
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Meniscus tears
  • Plantar fasciitis

How do I prepare for my injection?

There are several things you can do as a patient to help make this procedure as successful as possible. First, arrive at your appointment well hydrated. The more hydrated you are the easier your blood sample will be to obtain. Second, stay away from any anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs- Advil, Aleve, etc) the week prior to the injection. Since our goal is to cause an inflammatory response, these medications may inhibit this reaction. It is also important for us to know any and all medications/supplements you are currently taking so please come prepared with an accurate list.

What should I expect after my injection?

You can expect to feel some discomfort the first few days to weeks after injection due to the acute inflammatory response. Some patients do not experience this and that is ok. That does not mean that the PRP is not working. This may vary depending on the location of the injection. We may recommend you wear a certain brace, again depending on the injection site. Avoid any NSAIDs one month following the procedure. As mentioned above these medications can negate the inflammatory response we are trying to achieve. We also recommend avoiding any exercise the day of and a few days following the procedure. This may vary depending on the injection site.

We typically bring you back in the office for a follow up visit about a month after the procedure to re-evaluate. Depending on the injection site, a repeat diagnostic ultrasound may be done to assess the healing process.

Ready to schedule?

Call our office located in San Diego at (619) 462-3131 or visit our website to schedule an appointment for this procedure. Request a consultation with one of our highly skilled providers to perform an evaluation to see if this procedure is right for you!

Read more about this procedure here.