What is PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)?
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP for short is a super concentrated platelet product that is obtained from the patient’s own blood. PRP is a potent anti-inflammatory, regenerative and tissue healing product that both activates the healing process and stem cells. PRP is an injectable substance. PRP is a natural product individualised to you as we obtain PRP from you, the patient.
Which types of joint pain or arthritis can PRP be useful for?
PRP is an injectable substance that can be used to treat both arthritis and tendon disease. PRP can be used to treat knee arthritis, hip arthritis, shoulder arthritis, thumb arthritis. It is also finding uses in the treatment of back and neck pain. In addition, PRP can be used to treat tendonitis.
How does PRP work?
PRP contains high concentrations of a number of different types of blood cells and natural growth factors that promote healing. In normal wound healing these cells and growth factors are present in small quantities. PRP has super-concentrated levels of growth factors that can activate stem cells and help in repair of wound, inflammation and degeneration.
When the PRP is injected into the area of injury in the tendon, ligament, or muscle, PRP promotes healing in this region by producing an inflammatory reaction. Therefore, the PRP treatment is primarily a healing procedure rather than a pain-relieving procedure. Pain relief is a secondary result of the treatment.
What is the procedure on the treatment day?
As part of the procedure, the nurse will take up to 60mls of blood from your vein (usually from the elbow or forearm) . Your blood will then be placed in a centrifuge machine and will be spun for 15-20 minutes to separate the PRP. You will then be asked to come into the treatment room where you will be made comfortable prior to the doctor commencing the procedure. The doctor will inject local anaesthetic to numb the area, then they will inject the PRP obtained from the separated blood into the area of concern.
This will be performed using image guidance to assist the Radiologist to position the needle accurately. The whole appointment will take approximately 45 minutes. There may be some pain or discomfort during the procedure. In some cases, the doctor may also perform a procedure known as ‘dry needling’ and/or ‘paratenon stripping’ simultaneously whilst giving the injection to further promote healing.
Is all PRP the same?
All PRP is not the same. We know that centrifuging blood is not enough to get effective PRP. Normal blood contains 150,000-400,000 platelets per microlitre. We know the effect of PRP depends on the dose of the platelets ie 1 to 2 times the concentration is not enough. To get a clinical result, it is necessary to obtain about 10 billion platelets / mcl in PRP. This is why we use a specific PRP concentrating kit obtained from the US.
How many sessions are required?
Depending on the joint involved and the response obtained, between 1-3 PRP injection sessions are required.
Is PRP safe?
Like all invasive treatments, PRP has risks. We will collect your blood using a safe and sterile method. Once in the PRP collection kit, it is in a sterile environment whilst it is processed. Allergic reactions are unexpected due to PRP using your own blood, but it is possible to react to the local anaesthetic or skin prep. The injection of PRP can be painful but we use local anaesthetics and nerve blocks to reduce the pain.
Please contact Geelong Veins Skin and Laser to book an appointment with Dr Lakkaraju and his team to discuss treatment of knee and hip arthritis with PRP
If you are suffering from osteoarthritis and would like further advice or assessment please contact Geelong Veins Skin & Laser on 5229 6866.
Dr Amit Lakkaraju – FRANZCR, VEIN SPECIALIST, INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGIST