Frequently Asked Questions about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

Frequently Asked Questions about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

Created on: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Author: Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists


Dr. Robby Bershow is a sports medicine and family medicine physician performing platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy at our Minneapolis location. In this blog entry, Dr. Bershow shares some common questions regarding the option of PRP injections. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bershow, call 952-946-9777 or click here.
What is a PRP injection?
PRP stands for “platelet-rich plasma” – a concentrated version of blood that is rich with healing and growth factors. PRP can be used for “regenerative” injections, in which a patient’s own  blood is used to deliver those healing factors directly to injured tissue, in order to decrease pain and heal certain injuries.
What conditions are commonly treated with PRP?                                                                                     
PRP is most commonly used for chronic muscle or tendon injuries that have not healed with initial treatments (activity modification, physical therapy, etc.).
Common conditions:  tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, Achilles tendinosis, plantar fasciitis, patellar tendinosis, rotator cuff injuries, UCL tears (“Tommy John” injuries), and knee osteoarthritis
What happens during a PRP injection?
Blood is drawn from the patient and put into a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the platelet-rich plasma.
The platelet-rich plasma is then transferred into a syringe to be injected into the injured area. Often times an ultrasound machine is used to guide the needle directly to the injured tissue.
Platelets’ main function is clotting blood, but platelets also contain numerous molecules that act as “growth factors” – these molecules are essential for healing.
What to expect with a PRP injection?
The procedure typically takes 30-40 minutes to complete.
During the treatment there may be some discomfort with the injection of the platelets, and after the treatment there may be a temporary increase in pain, swelling and bruising.
For one month after the injection, patients need to avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); however, acetaminophen may still be used.
Following the injection, activities often need to be modified for 2 weeks. After that, formal physical is commonly resumed to help maximize healing.
Common Risks/Complications
With any type of injection there is a minimal risk of infection at the injection site, even though the procedure is performed with sterile precautions.
It is common for patients to feel an initial worsening of symptoms, but those typically improve with time as the injury heals.
Goals of treatment
Though temporary discomfort can be expected, the goal of PRP is to help the body heal itself, and to get over injuries for which recovery has been difficult.

If you would like to learn more from Dr. Bershow regarding PRP injections you can listen to his WELLcast.

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