Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection
A Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection is a procedure in which your own blood is drawn and centrifuged to extract platelet rich plasma (a concentrated source of healing factors). This substance is then injected back into the affected area to enhance the natural healing process and reduce pain.
How does a PRP Injection work?
To prepare PRP, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins and automatically produces the PRP. The entire process takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500%.
When PRP is injected into the damaged area it stimulates the tendon or ligament, causing mild inflammation that triggers the healing cascade. As a result, new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures it begins to shrink causing the tightening and strengthening of the tendons or ligaments of the damaged area.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP is blood plasma with concentrated platelets. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing: bone, tendon and ligament regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels, and stimulate the wound healing process.
What are the potential benefits?
Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive treatments such as long term medication or surgery as well as a remarkable return of function.
What can be treated?
PRP injections can be performed in tendons and ligaments all over the body. Various conditions that can be treated include:
- Sports Injuries
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Tennis/Golfer's Elbow
- Jumper's Knee
- Arthritic Joints
- Lumbar Disk Tears
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
Is PRP right for me?
If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have not provided relief, then a PRP injection may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive than surgery. It will heal tissue with minimal or no scarring and alleviates further degeneration of the tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therapy is right for you.
How many treatments are necessary & how often is this therapy administered?
Responses to treatment vary based on the underlying condition. Most people will require 1 or perhaps 2 injections. Each set of treatments is spaced at least 8 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have though, the risks and side effects do not change with the number of injections. Physiotherapy is strongly recommended after or between your treatments to maximize benefits.
How soon can I go back to regular physical activities?
PRP injections helps regenerate tendons and ligaments but it is not a quick fix. This therapy is stimulating the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments, and requires time and rehabilitation. Through regular visits, your doctor will determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities.
PRP vs. Cortisone
Studies have shown that cortisone injections may weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief and stop inflammation, but they do not provide long term healing. PRP therapy heals and strengthens these tendons and ligaments, strengthening and thickening the tissue up to 40% in some cases.
The cost for a PRP injection depends on the quantity of PRP extracted and injected. This will be determined after the radiologist has reviewed your requisition form.
PRP Injections are provided on a fee basis and are not covered by Alberta Health Care.
- 30ml (small PRP kit) - $375
- 60ml (large PRP kit) - $450
Fact: The benefits of a single treatment can last for months; however, this varies by individual. In some cases, the medication will last only a few weeks and in other cases the medication will last for a year or more.