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Injection treatment with Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP)

What is Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP)?

PRP is an innovative treatment that kickstarts a strong and long-lasting healing response when injected into an injured part of your body. Sports injuries as well as degenerative joint and tendon conditions can be successfully treated with PRP. PRP can also help patients who may have failed conservative treatment and who want to avoid surgery.

How does PRP work?

A small blood sample is taken from one of your veins. The blood sample is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the various constituents of blood from each other. The layer containing the platelets is then isolated and withdrawn. Attached to the platelets are a multitude of growth factors and cytokines. This concentrated mix of substances results in a powerful boost to the body’s own repair and healing efforts. PRP can stimulate the growth of cells and the vascularisation and repair of tissues like tendons and ligaments.

What conditions can PRP be used for?

PRP can work well for a range of conditions. Patients who may have failed conservative treatment and who may otherwise need surgery are ideally suited for PRP injection treatment. PRP is also widely used in sports medicine since it can speed up recovery and return to activity. Our surgeons are happy to discuss the option of PRP injection treatment with you.

  • Tendon problems:
    • Tennis/Golfers elbow
    • Subacromial impingement
    • Rotator cuff tendinopathy
    • Partial thickness tearing of the rotator cuff
    • Augmentation of rotator cuff repairs
  • Joint problems:
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Pain and stiffness from joint degeneration
    • Cartilage defects
    • Patients who may not be fit for joint replacement surgery
    • Patients who may want to delay or avoid joint replacement surgery
  • Osteoarthritis
    • Ligament tearing
    • Muscle injuries and tears
    • Strains and sprains

How many PRP injections do I need?

For most patients and conditions, a single injection is enough. The injection can be repeated if necessary. For patients with more severe arthritis a series of 2-3 injection within 3-4 weeks may be required

What happens on the day?

The procedure in carried out in our treatment room. We will take a 15ml blood sample from a vein in your arm. While the blood sample is spun in a centrifuge, you will receive an injection with local anaesthetic to numb the target area. Once the PRP is ready, the area of interest will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The PRP will then be injected into the joint or tendon under Ultrasound guidance. The whole procedure takes approximately 15 minutes.

What happens following the PRP injection?

A small dressing will cover the injection site. You should be able to go home straight away. You may experience mild pain in the first 24-48 hours following the treatment. An icepack or simple painkillers like Paracetamol should keep you comfortable.

Any restrictions following the PRP injection?

Since mild aches are common following the treatment, it’s best to take it easy for a couple of days. You can then mobilise as pain allows.

How soon before I notice the benefits?

PRP stimulates a powerful healing response, which will take a short while to make a difference. As a rule of thumb, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms within 2-6 weeks following the treatment. Research suggests that the improvement can continue for up to 6-9 months.

Will I need Physio?

You will require Physiotherapy to support the rehab process, this will be an integral part of your treatment. Our Physio Lisa Barrington-Ford will discuss your rehab needs with you and will liaise with your own Physio if required.

Is the treatment safe?

Yes. Since PRP only contains concentrated parts of your own blood, the treatment is very safe. Some patients may experience mild discomfort for 1-2 days following the injection. Infection is a very rare problem and accidental damage to nerves or vessels nearby is very rare.

When should PRP not be used?

Patients with blood abnormalities like anaemia or a low platelet count are not suitable for PRP injection treatment. In the presence of acute infection or active cancer it is best not to use PRP.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID’s):

NSAID’s can suppress the effects of the growth factors in the PRP injection. You should therefore stop taking any NSAID’s for 7 days before and after the injection. Commonly used NSAID’s are Voltarol, Ibuprofen, Nurofen and Naproxen.

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  • British Trauma Society
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