What to Know About Your First PRP Appointment
PRP is a term that refers to platelet rich plasma. In all our blood, there are various ingredients that our bodies, our muscles, our bones, and every other part of us needs in order to survive. The heart pumps not just blood, but oxygen, minerals, vitamins, and other necessary variants to keep us alive and kicking.
Inside the blood itself are red and white cells. When you injure yourself, there’s a reason why blood rushes to that specific area of the body. Platelets in the blood are what helps to heal the wound and return the skin and other tissues back to normal. But doctors have discovered a way to use these platelets for various cosmetic treatments.
How PRP is Used
If our blood contains ingredients that heal and promote growth, you knew it wouldn’t be very long before scientists figured out how to use platelets to help restore skin that has been damaged due to age or other circumstances. In fact, many celebrities have been using PRP to help them look younger and younger. Athletes use the PRP for faster healing so they can return to the field quicker.
The PRP treatment works when a doctor takes a blood sample from you and takes it to a machine that spins it at high speeds. The platelets are then forced to the top of the test tube where they are collected in concentration form. That concentration of platelets since then injected to the specific area for healing and/or cosmetic properties.
While PRP has been a means of treatment for sports injuries and cosmetics, using it for musculoskeletal injuries is a new treatment that looks to be promising so far in healing chronic and acute injuries. The body seems to have a 70 to 80% response rate to PRP, depending on where it’s been injected.
Before Your Appointment
It’s very important to note that you DO NOT take any anti-inflammatory drugs it was seven days before your PRP appointment. That includes all over-the-counter medications, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. If you’re on a blood thinner and you will not qualify for PRP injections. You must have a normal blood system without having to take medications to correct any potential issues that might affect the platelet count.
During the Appointment
When you go in for your appointment, you will most likely be asked to undergo an ultrasound before the injection is done. It will give the doctor a good idea of the affected region and where the injection will take place. You will be sterilized about 20 mL of blood is taken from your vein and then centrifuged to remove the platelets.
Then using the ultrasound as guidance, the doctor takes about 2 to 3 ccs of concentrated PRP and injected into the injury area. Please note that since local anesthetics can get in the way of the platelets, there will be no anesthetic used in the area before the injection. The whole process takes no more than 30 minutes. Most the time is used by drawing blood and getting the PRP concentrate from it.
After Your Appointment
Pain and discomfort after the procedure is common. It may hit its peak about 3 days after you have the injection and be bad enough you might need painkillers or other analgesics to relax. Be sure to rest after the procedure and continue your normal healing process. In some circumstances, the pain can be severe and last a week or more.
Normally, pain is a sign something is wrong with the body and a natural sign of healing. Once the PCP goes to work repairing a tendon, it will go through it’s normal way, but at an accelerated pace. So, please don’t freak out if the pain continues for several weeks after the injection as that might mean it’s doing its job.