Discover If PRP Injections Stimulate Faster Healing (2023)

Platelet-rich plasma (abbreviated PRP) is a treatment used for a variety of common orthopedic conditions. PRP is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood, and these platelets have growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries. Growth factors are chemicals that signal the body to initiate a healing response. By injecting PRP into areas of an injury, the hope is to stimulate and optimize your body's ability to heal the chronic conditions. PRP contains a high concentration of platelets, other blood cells important in healing, and growth factors.

Discover If PRP Injections Stimulate Faster Healing (1)

Uses

PRP has been used in operating rooms for several decades to help with wound healing, and to stimulate bone formation in spinal fusion surgery. Recently, PRP has been used in outpatient settings for the treatment of common overuse conditions including:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Patellar Tendonitis

Some doctors seem to use PRP for just about any condition, while others are more selective.

There is limited data about many conditions for which PRP may be helpful, and only a few conditions for which it has been shown to provide some benefit.

Procedure

PRP injections can be done in a physician's office. The procedure takes about 30 minutes in order to withdraw the blood, spin the blood in the centrifuge, and inject the PRP into the injured area.

Finding a physician who provides PRP injections can be a challenge, but most commonly these are offered by orthopedic physicians who specialize in the care of chronic sports injuries.

How PRP Is Obtained

PRP is obtained from the patient who is being treated. Blood is withdrawn from a vein in the patient's arm and the blood is placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins at a high speed to separate the different types of blood cells. The physician extracts the platelet-rich portion of the blood and injects this into the area of injury. There is not just platelets in the concentrated layer of the "spun" blood, but also other important growth factors, plasma, and some red blood cells.

(Video) Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: Faster Healing and Pain Improvement

How PRP Is Injected

PRP injections are given as soon as the blood has been spun and the platelets separated. Some physicians may choose to add an "activating agent," usually either thrombin or calcium chloride, while some inject just the platelets. Studies have shown that the tendons being injected can also activate the PRP, so the activating agent may not be necessary.

There is no clear science to justify a particular quantity of PRP and the number of injections needed. Most physicians perform one injection, although sometimes PRP injections are given as a series of injections over a span of several weeks.

Are The Injections Painful?

There is some discomfort associated with both requiring the blood to inject, and for the actual injection itself. Both parts of the procedure involve placing a needle through the skin. There are anesthetics that can be given to help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with placing a needle into the skin. The relief found from a PRP injection is not immediate, often like people experience with a cortisone injection.

Effectiveness

We know from laboratory studies that PRP can help increase certain growth factors that are important in the healing process. What we do not know is if this makes any difference in healing when PRP is injected into an injured part of the body.

Clinical studies that have been done so far do not clearly demonstrate if PRP is more effective than other treatments.

While there are reports of cases of success, it is not known if these successes are better, or worse than other standard treatments. Currently, investigations are underway to determine if PRP is more helpful than other treatments for chronic tendonitis.

PRP has been shown to have some beneficial effects for tennis elbow, Achilles injuries, and even knee arthritis. Unfortunately, these are relatively small studies that follow the patients for a relatively short duration. Because of this, most doctors, and definitely most insurance companies, consider PRP to be experimental. However, talk to any patient who has found success with PRP, and they will tell you about how successful this treatment can be! It is important to remember, even though there are some success stories and small studies that show benefit, we really don't know if PRP is worth the expense of this treatment.

Side Effects

Side effectsare uncommon, but they are possible. Whenever a needle is inserted through the skin, an infection can occur. The other more common side effect of PRP injections is an increase in inflammation and pain after the injection.

(Video) Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections Recovery Time

PRP injections are not recommended in individuals with bleeding disorders, those taking anti-coagulation medications (e.g.Coumadin), or those who have cancer, active infections, or are pregnant.

Cost

PRP injections are not covered by most insurance plans, so there is usually a fee for providing this service. If your insurance does not cover these injections, you can try to appeal to the insurance provider, but because there is little scientific evidence to support PRP use, the likelihood of coverage may be low.

Fees for PRP injections vary widely, and you may be able to work out a payment with your physician. While there are many different costs to obtain PRP, most physician offices use disposable kits offered by some of the major orthopedic supply companies. These kits cost a few hundred dollars, so there is certainly flexibility in payment.

A Word From Verywell

PRP injections have been a subject ofsignificant interest for orthopedic surgeons and for their patients. Trying to stimulate a healing response within the body can be a challenge, and PRP injections may be an effective way to achieve that goal. While there is some data to support the use of PRP injections in certain clinical situations, there is other datathat questions whether this is more beneficial than traditional treatment. There is little harm in PRP injections, and they are certainly a reasonable option, but the cost of these injections is often not covered by insurance plans. I think it is reasonable to consider a PRP injection, however, it certainly should not be viewed as a mandatory treatment, and this should only be consideredwhenother simpler,and more proven treatments are attempted first.

5 Sources

(Video) Treating Sports Injuries with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Hall, Michael P. MD et. al. Platelet-rich Plasma: Current Concepts and Application in Sports Medicine. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Volume 17, Issue 10. p 602–608. October 2009.

  2. Padilla S, Orive G, Sanchez M, Anitua E, Hsu WK. Platelet-rich plasma in orthopedic applications: evidence-based recommendations for treatment. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014;22(8):469-70. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-22-08-469

  3. Ficek K, Kamiński T, Wach E, Cholewiński J, Cięszczyk P. Application of platelet-rich plasma in sports medicine. J Hum Kinet. 2011;30:85-97. doi:10.2478/v10078-011-0076-z

  4. Dhurat R, Sukesh M. Principles and Methods of Preparation of Platelet-Rich Plasma: A Review and Author's Perspective. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2014;7(4):189-97. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.150734

  5. Raeissadat SA, Rayegani SM, Hassanabadi H, et al. Knee Osteoarthritis Injection Choices: Platelet- Rich Plasma (PRP) Versus Hyaluronic Acid (A one-year randomized clinical trial). Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2015;8:1-8. doi:10.4137/CMAMD.S17894

FAQs

Does PRP speed up healing? ›

Clinical studies have shown that platelet-rich plasma stimulates and improves the healing process. It is not a magical cure, but it does have a role in minimizing pain and improving function. For those who respond to PRP injections, it can reliably decrease inflammation.

How do you know if PRP is working? ›

Depending on your condition, you should see results between 2-6 weeks after receiving a PRP injection. Mild injuries or chronic pain cases typically see results within the first two weeks, while more serious injuries won't be able to appreciate the healing until around a month has passed.

How long after first PRP do you see results? ›

It can take up to six to twelve months to visually see your PRP results in the mirror, although most clients begin to notice results at three months. Standardized photos will be taken before each PRP Hair Restoration treatment so that improvement can be tracked.

Do PRP injections work right away? ›

How long does it take for PRP injections to work? The benefits of PRP injections may take between four and six weeks to be noticeable to the patient. Even beyond this window, the platelet-rich plasma will continue to aid in further healing for anywhere from six and nine months.

Can I drink coffee after PRP? ›

After your Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment you should: • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, hot drinks and spicy food for 24 hours, as these may exacerbate bruising and swelling.

How long does PRP last? ›

The effects of PRP are not permanent but effects can last up to 18 months in an average with a maximum of 2years as the longest reported effect. However, most may resort to a re-touch of the treatment once a year.

How much time does it take for PRP to work? ›

The results of PRP treatment are most noticeable after several weeks for joint injections and six months for scalp injections, and are not permanent; patients may require additional injections at the direction of their doctor.

What is the success rate of PRP injections? ›

While there is no consensus on the exact success rate of PRP injections for hair restoration, it sits between 70-90% for the average patient. It tends to work better in younger patients beginning to experience the effects of genetic hair loss and thinning.

When should I get a second PRP? ›

Patients who have had a good response, usually repeat the PRP every 9-15 months.

Why is PRP not working? ›

PRP therapy is less likely to work if your hair loss is due to a condition that causes scarring of the scalp, such as lupus. Once scarring has occurred, hair follicles typically can't be reactivated.

How many PRP sessions are needed? ›

PRP therapy is a three-step process. Most PRP therapy requires three treatments 4–6 weeks apart. Maintenance treatments are required every 4–6 months.

What can you not do after PRP? ›

Avoid applying ice or heat at the site for three days after your injection. Do not apply lotions, oils, or makeup to the injection site for six hours. Avoid strenuous activities and exercise for three days after. Do not smoke or consume alcohol for at least three days post-procedure.

How often can you repeat PRP injections? ›

You may require up to three PRP injections within a six-month period, usually performed two to three weeks apart, but you may be able to achieve significant to complete relief after the first or second shot. Symptom improvement is said to gradually increase as your healing progresses.

Does PRP make you tired? ›

Are there adverse effects? PRP is quite safe and the main drawback is post-procedure discomfort. Occasionally, a patient may experience a mild fever, swelling of the injected area, body aches, and fatigue for up to 3 days.

Can you take anti inflammatories after PRP injection? ›

Post-procedure Instructions

Avoid anti-inflammatory medications for six weeks after the procedure (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, celebrex, etc.). Increased irritation in the affected area may occur after your PRP injection. This is part of the healing process.

What supplements to avoid after PRP? ›

Continue to avoid using NSAIDs (Ibuprofin, Aspirin, Naproxen, Aleve, Motrin, Advil) for one week after your PRP procedure. Continue to avoid these nutritional supplements for one week after your procedure: Vitamin E, Flax Oil, Fish Oil, Vitamin A, Curcumin, Turmeric, Aloe, and Astaxanthin.

Is it OK to drink alcohol after PRP? ›

Other important guidelines to follow after your PRP procedure are: Avoid applying ice or heat to the injection site for the first 72 hours post-procedure. Don't take a hot bath or go to a sauna for the first few days post-procedure. Avoid consumption of any alcoholic beverages for 2 days post-procedure.

How long after PRP Can I drink alcohol? ›

Continue to avoid alcohol for at least 7 days after your procedure. DO NOT TAKE corticosteroids for at least 2 weeks following your procedure. DO NOT TAKE anti-inflammatory medications such as; Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Aspirin, for at least 2 weeks after your procedure.

Does PRP rebuild cartilage? ›

The PRP accelerates and boosts healing, so your body can actually repair significant amounts of damage that it can't handle by itself. Research has shown that PRP can actually help you regenerate cartilage that's been degraded by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Can I do PRP every week? ›

Everyone is different, therefore it depends on the individual skin type and area being treated. However, you can have PRP treatments every 2-3 weeks or so. By stacking this needling in a series of 2-3 weeks, there is an additive effect in collagen production and contraction.

Why is PRP so painful? ›

PRP therapy takes time to work. It is not like a steroid shot that will make you feel better right away. You may feel more pain at first, since we are causing swelling in the area that was already sore. The swelling is needed for the blood cells to start helping you heal for the long term.

How many PRP treatments do you need to see results? ›

Unless the changes required are very significant only one treatment will show effective results. 1-2 treatments will be carried after the first one if there are signs that you have not achieved maximum results. There should be a gap of 3 months for attaining one more treatment.

Does PRP work for everyone? ›

PRP is not to be seen as a standalone treatment method to overcome hair loss woes. When administered in conjunction with medicines and other topical treatments, it has shown to be successful among 70% patients, to whom it is administered.

Is PRP better than cortisone? ›

Cortisone Injections have immediate pain relief but is primarily a temporary solution. With PRP on the other hand, it offers not only pain relief but also tissue regeneration and healing but has a longer healing and pain relief time.

Why is PRP not FDA approved? ›

The regulatory process for these products is described in the FDA's 21 CFR 1271 of the Code of Regulations. Under these regulations, certain products including blood products such as PRP are exempt and therefore do not follow the FDA's traditional regulatory pathway that includes animal studies and clinical trials.

Can you do PRP every month? ›

PRP treatments should be done once a month for three to four months. After this initial treatment plan, practitioners might bring patients back in every three to six months for singular maintenance treatments. Results, inevitably, vary from patient to patient.

Can you have too many PRP injections? ›

Answer: PRP Facial

You can certainly look overfilled with too much filler injections though, but they are mostly temporary and can even be dissolved if you are overinjected. Most experienced injectors do not have the issue of overfilling patients.

Can PRP make injury worse? ›

Knee, shoulder, or elbow joint PRP injections typically produce mild swelling and discomfort. Injections of PRP into muscles or tendons usually cause much more pain than a joint injection.

What should I avoid after PRP? ›

Avoid applying ice or heat at the site for three days after your injection. Do not apply lotions, oils, or makeup to the injection site for six hours. Avoid strenuous activities and exercise for three days after. Do not smoke or consume alcohol for at least three days post-procedure.

Why is PRP not working? ›

PRP therapy is less likely to work if your hair loss is due to a condition that causes scarring of the scalp, such as lupus. Once scarring has occurred, hair follicles typically can't be reactivated.

How long after PRP Can I drink alcohol? ›

Continue to avoid alcohol for at least 7 days after your procedure. DO NOT TAKE corticosteroids for at least 2 weeks following your procedure. DO NOT TAKE anti-inflammatory medications such as; Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Aspirin, for at least 2 weeks after your procedure.

How can I increase my PRP naturally? ›

How You Can Improve Your PRP Outcome
  1. High Intensity Cardio Exercise. ...
  2. Eat a Diet Rich in Green Leafy Vegetables. ...
  3. Don't Smoke, Drink or do Drugs. ...
  4. Increase B-Vitamins and Hydrate. ...
  5. Avoid Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSaid) ...
  6. Follow Your Post-Procedure Routine.

How much rest is needed after PRP? ›

After your PRP Therapy session, we recommend that all patients rest on the day of their procedure. For the next 2 days, we advise limited use of the injection area, but movement is encouraged. This helps the joint recover as the injection is absorbed by the area's surrounding tissues.

Does PRP make you tired? ›

Are there adverse effects? PRP is quite safe and the main drawback is post-procedure discomfort. Occasionally, a patient may experience a mild fever, swelling of the injected area, body aches, and fatigue for up to 3 days.

How long after PRP can I shower? ›

Do not use any hair products for at least 6 hours after your treatment. Be sure to take a hot shower and wash your hair that evening, after the treatment, to promote the effects of PRP. Avoid saunas, steam rooms, swimming for 2 days after your treatment. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking for 3 days after treatment.

Can PRP make things worse? ›

Sometimes the original pain and soreness of the injury remains (it may even get worse), even after an extended rest period after the PRP therapy. Some patients body will reject their own serum and react negatively to the treatment. This is rare, but it does happen.

Can I do PRP every week? ›

Everyone is different, therefore it depends on the individual skin type and area being treated. However, you can have PRP treatments every 2-3 weeks or so. By stacking this needling in a series of 2-3 weeks, there is an additive effect in collagen production and contraction.

Can PRP break up scar tissue? ›

This built-up scar tissue can further prohibit proper blood flow to the area, and often means the area will never heal correctly — PRP therapy breaks through scar tissue and provides needed platelets and growth factors to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration.

Why is PRP so painful? ›

PRP therapy takes time to work. It is not like a steroid shot that will make you feel better right away. You may feel more pain at first, since we are causing swelling in the area that was already sore. The swelling is needed for the blood cells to start helping you heal for the long term.

Can I get a massage after a PRP injection? ›

Massage around the area may also be used although direct deep massage over the healing injury is generally avoided so as not to disturb the healing process.

Can I take ibuprofen after PRP injection? ›

Post-procedure Instructions

Avoid anti-inflammatory medications for six weeks after the procedure (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, celebrex, etc.). Increased irritation in the affected area may occur after your PRP injection. This is part of the healing process.

Which fruits increase platelets? ›

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries and blackberries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants tend to neutralize the free radicals and thus help cope with the decrease in platelet count. Including berries in the diet may help in increasing platelet count.

What foods increase blood plasma? ›

Add more vitamin B9 or folate rich foods that may be extremely important for healthy cell division in the body that can help increase blood platelet count. Include more orange juice, spinach, asparagus and leafy greens in your diet.

How can I raise my platelet count quickly? ›

8 Things That Can Increase Your Blood Platelet Count
  1. Eating more leafy greens. ...
  2. Eating more fatty fish. ...
  3. Increasing folate consumption. ...
  4. Avoiding alcohol. ...
  5. Eating more citrus. ...
  6. Consuming more iron-rich foods. ...
  7. Trying a chlorophyll supplement. ...
  8. Avoiding vitamin E and fish oil supplements.
Dec 7, 2020

Videos

1. Platelet-rich Plasma Treatment for Injured Tendons, Muscles and Joints
(Hospital for Special Surgery)
2. How Healing Occurs from a PRP Injection
(Drew Timmermans, ND)
3. PRP Treatment For Shoulder Pain: HOW platelet rich plasma injections help rotator cuff
(Jeffrey Peng MD)
4. Can platelet-rich plasma injections heal my tendon?
(Summit Orthopedics)
5. Tennis elbow PRP injection: why platelet rich plasma treatment works
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6. How is platelet-rich plasma used to promote healing?
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