Platelet Rich Plasma

Regenerative Orthopedics Institute patients can now benefit from a treatment called platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections. This non-surgical treatment can reduce pain, providing long-term relief from chronic tendinitis. PRP injections use your own body’s natural growth factors to promote healing and alleviate pain.

What is chronic tendinitis?

Tendinitis is inflammation, irritation and swelling of a tendon, which is a tissue that joins muscle to bone. Tendinitis is typically caused by joint overuse or not properly conditioning the joint prior to activity. Sometimes with overuse, these tendons will break or tear, and then scar tissue will form. Scar tissue is not as flexible as the tendons themselves, and with continued use, inflammation and pain will occur. As we age, our bodies do not repair these injured tendons as easily as when we were young. We produce fewer “repair” cells as we get older, so it takes longer to recover. Some people can develop chronic, or long-term, tendinitis as a result. Chronic tendinitis lacks any true inflammation in the tendon, and this is why corticosteroid injections lacks for this condition. The specific areas that we are most often affected are the shoulders, ankles, elbows and feet.

How can PRP injections help me?

PRP injections harness the healing power of your own blood to reduce pain in these injured tendons and promote healing and self-repair.

How many injections will I receive?

Each individual’s treatment plan will vary, but our typical patient requires one or two injections, a minimum of four week apart.

What are the risks?

PRP injections use plate-rich plasma to boost your body’s ability to heal. The plasma comes from your own blood, so there is no chance of your body rejecting it. At the injection site, there is a small risk of infection and a chance that some bruising will occur.

How should I prepare for a PRP injection?

Seven days before your PRP injections, do not take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as Motrin, Advil, Aleve or Naprosyn.

The day before your PRP injection, drink as much water as you can. The more hydrated your are, the easier it will be to draw your blood.

What should I expect during a PRP injection?

The PRP injection is actually a relatively simple process:

  • Step 1: We take a small amount of healthy blood from your arm.
  • Step 2: We separate the platelets and plasma from the rest of your blood using a special machine.
  • Step 3: Cells are activated using photo modulation.
  • Step 4: We inject the platelet-rich plasma into the injured area. This may or may not be done under ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance.

Remember, we only use your blood during a PRP injection.

What can I expect after my PRP injection?

  • The treated area will be numb for about an hour
  • It is normal to have a significant increase in pain and stiffness in the area for the few days following the injection
  • After the numbness wears off, you may move the affected area, but avoid activities that cause increased pain
  • For the first 24 hours, ice only if needed for 10-20 minutes every 2-3 hours
  • After one to two weeks, you can resume physical activity as directed by your physician
  • It typically takes at least 4 weeks until patients notice improvement with pain and function, and 3-6 months for maximal benefit

Does insurance cover PRP injections?

  • At this time insurance does not cover the preparation of PRP treatment, but we can bill your insurance for the injection portion of the treatment
  • Payment is due at the time of treatment
  • All major credit cards are accepted

What should I do if I think I am a candidate for PRP?

If you live near San Luis Obispo, we recommend scheduling an appointment for a consultation so that we can look at your radiology films (X-rays) and examine you to determine if you are a good candidate. Please call 805.542.9678 to schedule a consultation.