What Is PRP?
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is one of the most exciting newer developments in orthopaedic surgery. The injection is composed of a portion of your own blood called plasma. The plasma or PRP is a form of stem cell technology that is rich with platelets and growth factors which are very useful in the world of orthopedics to promote your body's natural healing process to occur and to effectively treat a wide range of diagnoses. It was initially sensationalized by its use in professional athletes. However, it's use now extends to anyone who is either trying to heal an injured body part, or to accelerate the time required to heal it.
Your body is constantly healing itself from mending a paper cut to healing a broken bone. This process is mediated by stem cells and growth factors that normally exist in your body. PRP harnesses your own body's normal healing properties to stimulate and accelerate a healing response for an injured body part.
How Is PRP Obtained?
PRP is obtained through a simple blood draw. Approximately 10-15cc of your blood is obtained and then spun in a centrifuge. The blood then separates into two parts leaving a red layer and a straw-colored layer. This straw-colored layer is the Plasma or PRP. Dr. Lee will then inject this plasma layer (PRP) into the affected area. Ultrasound guidance may also be used to assist with needle guidance. The entire process takes about 10-15 minutes.
What Conditions Might Improve with PRP?
PRP is used in many aspects of orthopedics and is often considered as an alternative to surgery. You and Dr. Lee will discuss if PRP is a good option for your diagnosis while taking into consideration other treatment options, the severity of your injury, and your recovery timeline.
In general, PRP may be considered for tendonitis, arthritis, ligament injuries, fractures, and nonunions.
The most common diagnoses treated with PRP include:
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer's Elbow)
Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis
Knee Arthritis (or arthritis of other joints)
Chronic Tendonitis (Rotator Cuff Tendonitis, Achilles Tendonitis, and Patellar Tendonitis)
How Often Are the PRP Injections?
PRP is a dose-dependent response which means the more PRP injected in the area of treatment, the more effective it is in producing a successful result. The number of PRP injections is typically 3 with a week between each injection. If after the third injection you have improved, but still have some pain, a 4th and 5th injection may be discussed, but this is rare.
Is it safe?
Because PRP is merely components of your own blood that have been separated out, there is nothing artificial or extraneous added to it. As such, it may represent one of the safest treatment modalities we can offer a patient. It is also FDA approved, and accepted by all major professional sports as well as the International Olympic Committee.
How much experience does Dr Lee have with PRP?
Dr. Lee was one of the first to adopt the use of PRP for orthopaedic applications, and arguably has the most PRP experience of any orthopaedic surgeon in NYC. Dr. Lee has treated numerous professional athletes with PRP, but this modality is available to anyone who is interested in healing their injury in a nonoperative fashion.
PRP can be a great options for many diagnoses in Orthopedics. It often is considered as an alternative to surgery. Please feel free to contact us and make an appointment to discuss if PRP is an option for you. If you and Dr. Lee decide that PRP is the right option for you, your first injection may be performed that same day.
Learn More About PRP
Click below to learn more details about PRP.
*All of the above is subject to change with each individual patient's needs, concerns, symptoms, and rate of healing.