August 15, 2022
Wondering what all the buzz is about platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections – and if it's right for you? We've got you covered!
Washington University Orthopedics' Musculoskeletal Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialists provide platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatments in our regenerative medicine practices. Regenerative medicine can be used for a wide range of bone, muscle and joint conditions, but it is particularly helpful for patients with chronic tendon injuries and joints and with mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
Who Can Benefit from PRP?
PRP injections are a treatment option for our patients with chronic injuries or disorders of the joints, tendons or ligaments. Typically, these injections are used once other treatment options like physical therapy, rest and activity modification have failed.
PRP is obtained by using the patient's own blood, similar to having blood drawn for a lab test. That blood is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the white blood cells and platelets. The platelets are then concentrated and injected back into the patient at the site of injury or pain. Platelets contain growth factors that are known to help with the healing process, making them the preferred part of the patient's blood to use in treating their condition.
Is it Safe?
These injections are considered safe since they use a patient's own blood. However, because this is still a relatively new application of PRP, some insurance companies may not cover the injections (check with your individual carrier for coverage).
At WashU Orthopedics, our approach to PRP injections and all regenerative medicine procedures is evidence-based. Prior to determining to proceed with a PRP injection, we ensure our patients have obtained a clear diagnosis for their symptoms, have tried or considered traditional treatment options, and have an understanding of the PRP injection literature and research pertaining to their particular diagnosis.
What to Expect
Established patients referred by providers within WashU Orthopedics may be scheduled either directly for the PRP injection or for a consultation. All other patients can schedule a consultation to discuss regenerative medicine procedures, like PRP injections.
Consultations are great opportunities for patients questions to be answered. The actual appointment for PRP injections take about 45 minutes. The blood draw may take 5-10 minutes, followed by 20 minutes for the blood to spin in the centrifuge. The actual PRP injection takes approximately 15-20 minutes. The patient's response to the first PRP injection would determine the potential for repeat injections.
If you would like to discuss how PRP injections may be beneficial for you, call for a consultation or request an appointment online.