Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

Over the past several years, the utilization of platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections has increased in the field of orthopedics for the treatment of tendon injuries. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are made from the patient’s own blood. Platelets secrete growth factors and facilitate the healing of damaged cells. It is for this reason the PRP injection is created of highly concentrated levels of platelets to accelerate the healing process.

PRP injections are utilized for the treatment of abductor tendonitis and abductor tendon tears. Tendons have a slow metabolic rate, additionally, many lifestyle factors can inhibit the tendons ability to repair themselves including smoking, excess levels of caffeine, low levels of protein consumption and poor sleep hygiene. There are also some medical conditions that can negatively impact the health of one’s tendons including low levels of vitamin D, hyperparathyroidism, as well as other hormonal and metabolic issues. Furthermore, the use of the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and Levaquin can contribute to tendon issues months or even years after taking these medications. The use of PRP injections have been found to be effective in some cases at treating tendon issues. It helps to accelerate the healing process of damaged or injured tendons.

What to Expect on the Day of the Procedure?
PRP injections are done in the clinic on Friday afternoons. The injections are performed by Adam Burmeister, physician assistant for Dr. Stewart. Approximately 30-60 cc of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm. The blood is placed in a centrifuge machine and spun down to yield a sample of platelet rich blood. The centrifuge process takes approximately 20 minutes. The sample of platelet rich blood is then injected directly into the damaged or injured tendon in an effort to heal and repair it. Patients are able to drive themselves home following this procedure.

What are the risks of PRP injections?
The risks of receiving a PRP injection are minimal as you are receiving your own blood. After the injection it is common to experience mild discomfort and or swelling at the injection site which may last a few days. Tylenol may be used as needed for the treatment of discomfort following this procedure. We ask that you do not take any anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, Aleve or aspirin for 2 weeks following this procedure as it interferes with the function of the platelets and may lessen your response to the PRP injection. Additionally, we ask that you also avoid taking these mediations 1 week prior to the injection to minimize the risk of them interacting and negatively impacting the results of the platelets on the damaged tendons.

Does insurance cover the cost of PRP injections?
Insurance companies infrequently pay for the cost of PRP injections. It is a relatively new procedure and studies don’t conclusively demonstrate beneficial results in patients who receive PRP injections. The cost of a single PRP injection is approximately $1200.

How long does it take to notice results from the PRP injections?
Patients start to notice relief of their tendon pain 3-4 weeks following the procedure, however, symptom relief continues for up to 6 months or longer after the PRP injection.