PRP Therapy in Carlsbad - What Is PRP?
Plasma is a component of your blood that contains unique "factors," or proteins, that help your blood to clot. It also contains proteins that support cell growth. Scientists have produced PRP by separating plasma from blood and concentrating it.
The idea is that injecting PRP into damaged tissues will trigger your body to grow new, healthy cells and promote healing. Because the tissue growth factors are more concentrated in the prepared growth injections, researchers believe the body's tissues might heal faster.
What Are the Purposes of PRP Injections?
Researchers are trying out PRP injections across a variety of applications. Examples of these include:
- Hair loss. Doctors have injected PRP into the scalp to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. According to research from 2014, PRP injections work in treating androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness.
- Tendon injuries. Tendons are tough, thick bands of tissue that attach muscle to bone. They are typically slow to heal after injury. Doctors have used PRP injections to treat chronic tendon issues, such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis at the ankle, and jumper's knee, which causes pain in the patellar tendon in the knee.
- Acute injuries. Doctors have used PRP injections to treat acute sports injuries, such as pulled hamstring muscles or knee sprains.
- Postsurgical repair. Sometimes doctors use PRP injections after surgery to fix a torn tendon (such as a rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder) or ligaments (such as the anterior cruciate ligament).
- Osteoarthritis. PRP injections in the knee might help people with osteoarthritis. A 2015 study found that PRP injections were more successful than hyaluronic acid injections (a conventional treatment) for treating osteoarthritis. However, the trial was a small group of 160 people, so larger trials are needed for this to be definitive.
How Do You Prepare for PRP Injections?
There are few steps to preparing for PRP injections. These steps depend on how you get PRP.
PRP can be injected in various ways. For example, sometimes a topical numbing lidocaine solution is applied to your scalp prior to injection. You may need to arrive early to a therapy session if this is the case.
Other times, a local anesthetic is mixed with the PRP to reduce any discomfort. In Some Cases, doctors will inject or apply PRP during surgery. In this instance, preparation for PRP injections would involve following your doctor's recommendations before surgery.
You'll likely have to quit taking particular medications that thin your blood, like aspirin and ibuprofen, before you get PRP injections. You may also have to take a break from certain vitamins or supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Williamson can advise you precisely what you have to do to prepare for these shots.
PRP does not usually result in major side effects. But because it involves drawing blood, if Dr. Williamson recommends it - you'll want to make sure you eat prior to the treatment. That will help you avoid feeling lightheaded when you get PRP injections.
You can't get PRP injections if you have:
- Abnormal platelet function or a low platelet count
- An infection
PRP Injection Process
Here's what to expect from a normal PRP injection procedure:
- A healthcare professional will draw a sample of your blood. The amount of the sample depends on where the PRP will be injected. For example, the amount of blood taken for injection into the scalp for one study was 20 milliliters. This is a little more than one teaspoon.
- The blood is placed into a centrifuge. This device spins around very fast, causing the blood components to separate. The separation process takes about 15 minutes.
- A technologist takes the separated plasma and prepares it for injection into the affected area.
- Physicians will commonly use imaging, such as ultrasound, to pinpoint particular areas for injection, such as the tendon. Dr. Williamson will then inject the PRP into the affected area.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of PRP?
Since PRP requires injecting a substance into the skin, there are potential side effects.
PRP is autologous, which means it includes substances that come directly from your own body. This lowers the risks for an allergic reaction that can occur from injecting other medications, such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are risks from the injection itself, including:
- nerve injuries
- pain at the injection site
- tissue damage
You should discuss these possible risks with Dr. Williamson, along with the steps they will take to reduce these risks.
What Is the Recovery Time for PRP Injections?
When PRP is injected after an injury, Dr. Williamson might suggest that you rest the affected area. However, these suggestions are more related to the injury and less to the PRP injections. Most individuals can continue their everyday activities after PRP injections.
Because PRP injections are intended to promote healing or growth, you might not see an immediate difference after receiving the injections. However, in a few weeks or months, the area might begin healing quicker or growing more hair than you would have expected if you hadn't gotten PRP injections.
Linette Williamson, MD is an Integrative Medical Doctor, who specializes in helping her patients and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Carlsbad, California
Identify lifestyle factors that affect their everyday medical issues. Dr. Williamson uses cutting-edge testing to find imbalances that are related to your health problems. She will spend time with you to find out what specific issues you have and help you develop a specific plan that is unique to you.