PLATELET RICH PLASMA (PRP) THERAPY
PRP, or “platelet-rich plasma,” is a revolutionary treatment for chronic sports and musculoskeletal injuries. This treatment is currently being used for both professional and recreational athletes alike to treat injuries. It has also been used to treat patients with joint arthritis and tendonitis that are experiencing pain and loss of function.
BASIS OF PRP TREATMENT
Platelets are a specialized type of blood cell. Blood is made up of 93% red cells (RBCs), 6% platelets, 1% white blood cells (WBCs), and plasma. Platelets are very much involved in injury healing. Human platelets are naturally extremely rich in connective tissue growth factors. Injecting these growth factors into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints stimulates a natural repair process. But in order to benefit from these natural healing proteins, the platelets must first be concentrated. In other words, PRP recreates and stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
- Tendonitis of the elbow (tennis elbow), shoulder, ankle (Achilles tendonitis), and knee (Jumper’s knee)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Partial tendon tears
- Arthritis of the knees and shoulders
Our process involves the following three steps:
- Evaluation – Initial step is an office visit to determine if stem cell injection is the right option for your condition. This is like any specialist office visit subject to co-pays as per your insurance plan. X-rays and MRIs are reviewed and any additional studies needed are ordered. If another option is a better choice, it is recommended. If PRP is determined to be a good option, the procedure is scheduled.
- Procedure – In the office, blood is drawn from the patient (just like getting a blood test) and placed in a special centrifuge to remove cells and obtain concentrated platelets and plasma. The platelet concentrate is then injected into the area of injury or disease. The entire procedure, from blood draw, to solution preparation, to injection, takes 30-40 minutes.
- Follow up – Patients are seen at 3 days, 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months for follow up. Visits at 3 days are covered under the procedure. Visits at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months are treated as specialist office visits subject to co-pays as per your insurance plan.
COSTS AND INSURANCE COVERAGE
PRP injections are currently not covered by any of the insurance plans including Medicare. The cost of PRP treatment is based on the number of injections per each treatment session. It is $700 for first area injected and $250 per each additional area injected. Most conditions require only one treatment session but some chronic or difficult problems may require treatment to be repeated after 4-6 weeks. A firm cost for your total treatment will be provided at the time of your initial evaluation visit based on number of areas that need to be injected and the number of treatment sessions.
PRP treatments have been used for soft tissue and tendon problems in athletes with good results. While treatment benefit cannot be guaranteed, on average, most patients start to see signs of improvement approximately 6-8 weeks after the completion of the complete treatment protocol. This may be reflected as less overall pain, an ability to do more activity before pain sets in, and/or faster recovery from pain.