A: Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy was developed over twenty years ago. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, doctors at a naval hospital first used it stop bleeding in patients. It then became popular in conjunction with oral surgery and bone grafts as doctors noticed PRP helped patients heal faster.
In the past ten to fifteen years, PRP has become common in the fields of sports medicine and orthopedics — first with bone grafting procedures, then in treating tendons and soft tissue areas.
A: Only a very small amount of blood is needed for a PRP procedure — between 40 and 100 ccs. To put it in perspective: when you donate blood you give a pint. PRP requires just 1/10th to 1/20th of that amount.
A: Any pain associated with PRP is very minor. You will feel a pinch when your blood is drawn — just like you do in your doctor’s office for a blood test. When the platelets are reinjected it will generally feel like any other shot you’ve ever received — no more pain, just a little more pressure. Facial PRP patients may feel a little more burning at the injection site, and a heightened soreness for a few days after the treatment.
For most procedures, doctors can use topical anesthetics (numbing cream, nerve blockers) to numb the site of the injection. With some areas, particularly joint and tendon problems, less anesthetic is used because it may affect the results of the procedure.
A: Most PRP procedures take less than an hour. Cosmetic procedures may take a little longer.
A: Most patients can return to work right after receiving PRP unless their jobs involve a lot of physical activity. Joint and tendon patients are advised to limit their activities for a few days.
Athletes need to take it easy for a few weeks. All PRP patients are asked to avoid over exerting themselves with unusually heavy activities (now is not the time to go skydiving) for thirty days.
A: Patients need to keep in mind that this is a process; it takes a while for the body to start healing itself. How long it takes depends on the severity of the ailment and the general health of the patient. You could see results in as early as two weeks, but it can take as long as twelve weeks to see full results.
In facial procedures, where the PRP is combined with fillers, patients see the results from the fillers immediately and results from the PRP when the fillers subside.
A: How long the results last depend on a variety of factors including the type of procedure, the general health of the patient, and the severity of the ailments.
With chronic tendon issues the results are semi-permanent because the problem is chronic; Osteo patients and facial patients will probably need boosters to maintain their results.
A: Since the platelets used come from your own blood the risk of side effects is minimal. There are just general risks associated with any blood draw or injection — like redness or soreness at the injection site.
A: Actually, inflammation is a good thing — it’s what you want to see happen after a PRP treatment. It means the body has started healing itself. It will fade quickly.
A: The cost varies by procedure. Most procedures cost about $1000. Cosmetic and Sexual treatments (the P-shot and O-shot) cost more: $1500 – $2000.
A: Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover PRP Therapy at this time. Worker’s compensation may pay part of it if the therapy is needed after an injury suffered on the job. Some insurance plans may allow you to pay for PRP out of your flexible spending account. You should contact your insurance company directly to find out if that’s the case.
A: If your doctor is not familiar with PRP, we can help educate her, or we can find you a specialist in your area.
A: The ultimate decision lies in the hands of both you and your doctor but most everyone is a candidate for PRP no matter how old they are, or their level of health.
A: Not always. PRP can work to enhance the results of your surgery, and help you recover more quickly. You would need to discuss your particular case with your doctor.