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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Therapy

PRP Overview

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy has become a sophisticated, game changing therapy of choice for numerous pro athletes recovering from tendon or joint injuries. For years doctors have been perfecting the process of stimulating our body’s own natural healing abilities to dramatically reduce recovery time and improve function following tears, tendonitis, arthritis and other tissue injuries. Unlike medicines and steroid injections, PRP Therapy focuses on healing the injury permanently rather than relieving pain. The procedure is minimally invasive and can encourage healing of, chronic or even more severe injuries without the risk or down time of surgery.

Athletes like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and Stephen Curry have opted for Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy and physical rehabilitation to get back to their games more quickly without any surgery. PRP Therapy speeds up the healing process already occurring naturally in your body by concentrating the platelets in a sample of your blood that play a role in tissue recovery and sending them directly into the damaged body part. The minimally invasive therapy takes about 30 minutes, requires no outside medications, and has none of the risks of surgery all while helping your body heal itself to the best of its ability.

When considering this newly advanced medical procedure, you should be sure to visit an orthopedic, physical medicine and rehabilitation, or podiatric specialist that is trained in Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy and who has years of experience guiding patients through procedure as the top rated doctors at Union County Orthopaedic Group do. Our staff has researched PRP therapy since its inception and is on the cutting edge of advancements in the field.

Who Should Consider PRP Therapy and Why

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, requiring only a blood sample and one injection per session. Because there are no steroids or other medications involved, the therapy can be repeated multiple times as needed throughout the recovery period without adverse side effects. PRP Therapy is designed to supplement physical rehabilitation, cutting down the time needed in physical therapy and improving the results of the rehabilitation program.

PRP Therapy is especially appropriate for athletes who can not take the time out of their training for post-surgical recovery. While avoiding surgery and healing naturally is preferable for anyone who depends on their body for livelihood, full recovery often takes longer with a possibility that surgery will be required anyway. With PRP Therapy, natural healing time is greatly reduced for many patients with much better outcomes, allowing them to avoid the risks and physical trauma of surgery.

Elderly patients with arthritis or chronic pain conditions who cannot undergo surgery or struggle through physical therapy sessions can encourage healing safely and naturally. Any patient with severe or ongoing pain from the following injuries may be candidates for PRP Therapy:

  • Arthritis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • ACL/MCL Tears
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fractures
  • Herniated Discs
  • Hamstring Strains
  • Instability of the Shoulder or Hip
  • Lumbar or Cervical Facet Joint Dysfunction or Fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Patellofemoral syndrome and patellar tendonitis
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow

While PRP Therapy has become accessible to all patients via specialized orthopedists such as those at Union County Orthopaedic Group, it gained its popularity as an experimental surgery alternative for elite athletes. NBA champion Stephen Curry was receiving PRP treatment for a grade 1 MCL sprain during the 2016 season. Garrett Richards, star pitcher for the Angels, opted for PRP Therapy rather than Tommy John surgery even though some doctors told him it would be “career suicide” not to surgically repair his torn elbow ligament. Richards was able to return to the pitcher’s mound in just one season without undergoing the Tommy John surgery that hundreds pitchers typically endure. In just a few short years, hundreds of professional athletes have expressed their excitement and successful recovery with PRP Therapy.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy has helped many patients turn around seemingly endless chronic injuries and conditions. Scheduling a consultation with the experienced and compassionate physicians at Union County Orthopaedic Group about PRP Therapy is the first step toward regaining your mobility, your body, and your life.

How Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Works

While you may have known that the platelets found in your blood help clot a cut to prevent bleeding, you probably didn’t know that they also play an important part in healing the tissues within our bodies. Platelets are proteins that trigger a surge of growth or regeneration in soft tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The idea behind Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is to send a large amount of these platelets to an injury, such as a tear in your ACL, so that it will spur the generation of more tissue molecules in the area, healing the damaged area by essentially growing new tissue at a faster pace. In addition, increasing the blood flow to an injured area in this way will reduce the inflammation that causes you pain.

Orthopedic, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and podiatric doctors perform the PRP procedure by taking a sample of your blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate a large amount of your own platelets from the rest of your blood. They then simply re-inject these platelets into the injured area of your body. From there, the platelets take over, encouraging your body to heal itself more quickly.

How To Prepare

Talking to your Union County Orthopaedic Group doctor about PRP Therapy is the first step towards responsibly caring for your body and overcoming your injury. Because the procedure is completely natural, the results differ for each individual. While some patients find that their expected recovery time is cut almost in half, other patients may only see slight or no improvement after the first few PRP Therapy sessions. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need multiple procedures over the course of 6 or more months. You can expect to communicate with your orthopedist after each procedure and throughout your whole healing process so you can both evaluate how well the PRP Therapy is working and how many more procedures would be appropriate for you. PRP Therapy works in conjunction with a physical therapy. While your time in physical therapy may be greatly reduced with the help of PRP Therapy, you will still need to help your body recuperate through professionally guided stretches and exercises as with any injury rehabilitation program.

What To Expect

Your Union County Orthopaedic Group specialist can typically complete your entire PRP procedure in 30 minutes. After a small sample of your blood is taken (the same procedure as a routine blood test) it will be spun in a centrifuge and prepared for re-injection. The high powered spinning separates the platelets from your other blood cells, which will be discarded.

If your injury is located around your spine, x-ray guidance will be necessary to make sure that the needle is inserted in a safe and effective spot. For injuries of the knee, shoulder, and other extremities, your orthopedist will use a simple ultrasound machine to guide the needle.

A PRP injection is typically not painful, but can become sore and swollen for a few days if it is inserted into a sensitive area such as your back. Joint injections cause minimal discomfort. Any pain or swelling can be treated with ice and Acetaminophen for the week following the procedure. No down-time or anesthesia is required for a PRP procedure; you will be able to leave our office as soon as you feel comfortable.

There are very few risks associated with PRP Therapy. Because the process requires your own blood rather than medication, there is no possibility of an allergic reaction. As with any injection, the area must be kept clean so as not to risk infection.

Results & Outcomes

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy depends on encouraging your own body to heal itself rather than a tested medication to relieve your pain. This means that results vary greatly from patient to patient. You will likely start to see improvement in the form of increased mobility and reduced pain and inflammation in about four to six weeks. You may notice that your physical therapy exercises are easier or more effective. Some individuals may need multiple PRP Therapy procedures over the course of a few months to see notable improvement.

Outcomes will also depend on the type and severity of your injury. Arthritis, for example, is difficult to treat, especially in it’s late stages. The same patient may see much more improvement after PRP Therapy in their Tennis Elbow than their knee arthritis simply because of the nature of the injury. Severe injuries will also require more time to heal, so it is important to stick to your physical therapy program, adhere to the advice of your doctor, and be patient with your body.

The orthopedic, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and podiatric doctors  at Union County Orthopaedic Group are the trusted experts in New Jersey for Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy. We service patients in Union County, NJ, and throughout the NY-Metro area.. Athletes and patients of all ages trust our experienced, caring, and knowledgeable doctors when it comes to orthopedic or neuromuscular injuries. Our staff has a reputation for dedicating themselves to returning each individual to the lifestyle they desire. We understand how confusing the treatment options for chronic conditions can be. Our doctors have the skills and experience needed to help you overcome your injury and regain your life.