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Platelet-rich plasma for joint treatment (PRP) operates under the theory that injecting growth factors from the blood into an injured area will cause new tissues to form, leading to healing. Growth factors are found in platelets in the blood. Cell division and migration occurs when growth factors interact with local cells. This promotes tissue formation which leads to healing around the affected area.

PRP for joint treatment involves injecting platelet-rich plasma solution into the affected joint to promote healing. PRP injections are considered experimental. This means that there is limited research on the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.

Who is a good candidate for this treatment?

Individuals with joint pains are not manageable through conventional methods such as anti-inflammatory, cortisone injections, and physical therapy may be ideal candidates for PRP treatments.

How to prepare for a PRP treatment

Consult with your healthcare provider before undergoing the treatment. Ask your healthcare provider about the things you should do or avoid before and after the treatment. The things you will likely need to do or avoid include:

  • You will likely need to avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications seven days before the treatment.
  • You may have an MRI so that your doctor can determine the extent of the damage of the joint.
  • You may need to arrange for crutches that you will use for up to two days after the treatment.
  • You may arrange for someone that will drive you home after the treatment. 

What happens during the procedure?

During the procedure, your doctor will first need to draw blood from the body, usually your arm with the use of a syringe. Then, the blood will be placed into a centrifuge for about 15 minutes. The centrifuge will be spin so as to separate your blood into red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.

The platelet-rich plasma will then be extracted. The area of your joint pain will be numbed by a numbing agent and the PRP will be injected into the area.

The whole procedure takes about an hour to be completed.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure, you will need to rest for about 15 minutes before you are discharged. Ice will be applied to the treatment area every 2 to 3 hours for about 20 minutes each time. The application of ice will continue for about three days.

If you are feeling a high level of pain, you may need to take pain medication. During the recovery period, limit your physical activity and avoid activities that put weight on your knee. You may need to use crutches for a few days after the treatment to keep weight off of your knee.

Possible risks and complications

PRP uses your own blood, so there’s little or no risk of complications. However, there are some rare cases of complications that may occur. These complications include:

  • Local infection
  • Pain at the site of injection
  • Nerve damage that may occur most likely at the site of injection

Cost of PRP for joint treatment

The PRP treatment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200 per treatment.

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