Blood contains plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Platelets are small discoid cells with a life span of about 7-10 days. Platelets contain granules which contain clotting and growth factors. During the healing process, the platelets are activated and aggregate together. They then release the granules which contain growth factors which stimulate the inflammatory cascade and healing process.
Blood typically contains 6% platelets whereas PRP has a significantly increased platelet concentration. Centrifuging the patient’s own blood allows the platelets to be concentrated. Studies have shown that significant clinical benefit can be obtained if the PRP is used rather than normal blood.
This procedure is typically preferred for tendons or muscle injury. Studies that show that the success rate is in the range of 70% – 80%.The repair process usually occurs over a 4-6 week period.
As your own (autologous) blood is used, it is first collected by venesection, the same procedure used in blood tests or blood donations.
The site of the venesection is usually a large vein in your elbow. Typically 10ml of blood is collected.
This blood will then be spun down in a centrifuge to separate the components; red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The process takes 10 minutes. The platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then harvested.
Depending on your injury, up to 2-4mL of PRP will then be extracted from the centrifuged blood.
The PRP will then be injected into your injury with the use of ultrasound guidance, and under local anaesthetic coverage.
Is it painful?
It is not uncommon that you may feel some pain during and following the injection. Our doctors prefer that you use paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) for pain relief or paracetamol combined with codeine (e.g. Panadeine) should you require something stronger after the procedure. Anti-inflammatories can affect the function of the platelets and should be avoided for up to 48 hours.
Refrain from significant activity involving the body part for one week; normal daily activities are okay but do not engage in heavy exercise or lifting.
As mentioned above, a moderate amount of discomfort is expected. The pain is usually worse in the first couple of days, however this should slowly decrease. A cold compress and paracetamol may help. If you’re experience persisting severe pain or an adverse reaction following the injection, please contact our clinic on (03) 9420 1700.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is prepared from autologous or the patient’s own blood so there is no risk of an allergic reaction.
Your doctor will use local anesthetic such as lignocaine or bupivicaine with your PRP injection, however, when this wears off there may be pain that lasts for a couple of days, this always goes away but may require pain relieving medication.
Adverse effects are rare but as with any injection there is always the small risk of infection or injury to nerves or blood vessels. Scar tissue formation and calcification at the injection site are also possible.
What you should let us know if you have:
- An active infection
- A low platelet count
- Take blood thinning medications (Warfarin, Plavix, Iscover or Aspirin).
You should also let us know if you:
- are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
- used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID’s – examples include Nurofen, Voltaren, Mobic) in the 7-10 days leading up to your appointment. You may be asked to switch to another painkiller such as paracetamol.
- have an allergy to a local anesthetic agent.
Please bring to your appointment
Please bring your referral from your doctor along with the following:
- Medicare Card
- Pension/Concession Card
- Previous films
It is important you understand why and how we will be assisting you. Please feel free to contact our friendly staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns on 03 9420 1700.