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Introduction and Applications

PRP Therapy is a cutting edge treatment that is fast becoming the treatment of choice amongst professional athletes and patients seeking speedy recovery from conditions such as tendonosis; bone, cartilage, meniscus, muscle, tendon and ligament strains, sprains and tears including rotator cuff patella, ACL and so forth; plantar fasciitis and other musculoskeletal complaints that may not be responding to more traditional treatments.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) a.k.a. autologous blood concentrate (APC) is obtained from the patient via blood withdrawal and centrifuge, which isolates the PRP in concentrated form. This concentrated, specialized blood cell solution is then administered via injection to the site of the complaint, where it significantly accelerates healing in a way that is both swift and sustainable.

Due to it’s regenerative and non-invasive nature, as well as the fact the treatment essentially involves a speeding up of the body’s own healing process, more and more patients and practitioners are actually considering this approach before turning to conservative or more drastic approaches.

How It Works

Rich with bioactive proteins, this PRP has the ability to diminish pain, spur the tissue regeneration necessary to form new blood vessels and soft tissue and dramatically accelerate healing.

This is what makes PRP treatment an invaluable tool in overcoming bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament complaints and various other connective or soft tissue injuries which would usually require extended healing time.

Once injected into the affected area, the PRP stimulates the relevant tissues, triggering acceleration of the body’s own healing cascade. Where PRP is administered to stimulate injured tendons or ligaments, for example, inflammation will be induced, along with the development of collagen in the area; when the collagen matures, the associated tendons or ligaments will be tightened and significantly strengthened.

Given that the entire process of phlebotomy and centrifuge (In order to isolate the PRP concentrate) generally takes less than 15 minutes and, once the product is administered, increases the platelet concentration and regenerative potential in the affected area by approximately 500%, it stands to reason that this effective stimulation of the body’s own healing mechanism is becoming the treatment of choice amongst athletes and active individuals keen to get back on their game in short order.

Patient Information and Preparation

How it’s done

  • A relatively uncomplicated procedure, PRP therapy can be provided at an outpatient surgery centre or at the practitioners office.
  • Phlebotomy is performed (blood drawing) and the blood is placed in a centrifuge, where it is spun down, automatically isolating the PRP concentrate from the red blood cells
  • The red blood cells are discarded after the centrifuge process
  • During centrifuge, a local anesthetic such as lidocaine is administered at the target site
  • In some cases, ultrasound guidance will be necessary to ensure that the PRP is delivered directly to the target site
  • The entire procedure should take under 40 minutes

Is PRP therapy painful?

  • Once the target area is numbed with a local anesthetic, the patient should experience no more than a mild discomfort during the PRP injection process
  • Once the local anesthetic wears off, a few hours later, there should be mild to moderate pain and inflammation for a few days, as accelerated healing commences. This period of discomfort can last up to 2 weeks after the procedure

What are the risks and complications of PRP therapy?

Whenever a needle is placed anywhere in the body, even something as simple as getting blood drawn, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, and nerve damage; while these complications are rare, it’s essential that you be made aware of these risks and remain vigilant.

Post therapeutic care

  • It’s essential that patients avoid anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Advil, Motrin, Mobic, as well as the application of ice to the area for at least the first week after treatment, as these will interfere with body’s accelerated healing response
  • Tylenol may be used to treat pain during the healing process
  • Patients may be given a soft cast and/or asked to use a cam walker for 3-4 days subsequent to the procedure
  • Patients may return to their regular activity schedules 3-4 weeks after their treatment

How often can these treatments be performed?

  • A follow-up treatment is typically administered 6-8 weeks after the initial injection, with a third treatment 6-8 weeks after that
  • In some cases, patients respond exceptionally, rendering follow up treatments unnecessary

What is the treatment success rate?

  • Most patients will see a significant decrease in symptoms, with the need for more aggressive approaches and long-term medical intervention often being eliminated
  • Most patient’s enjoy a surprisingly swift return to normal function and the ability to quickly get stuck into their regular athletic routines

What you’ll pay for this procedure

The phlebotomy is privately paid with the image guided injection covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. Please call our colleagues, Orthopedic Surgery Associates, for further pricing information.