What will happen during the PRP procedure
Before the procedure
A pre-procedure care sheet or verbal instructions regarding an ideal diet and possible medication interactions should be discussed 7 days prior to the PRP procedure.
The PRP procedure will take up to 45 minutes depending on the complexity of the injections. It is usually provided as an outpatient procedure, and depending on the area being injected patients may need someone to drive them home.
Upon arrival, patients will be asked to complete a health questionnaire to check for possible contraindications to the PRP therapy (medical reasons why the PRP cannot be performed). Upon clearance for the procedure by the nursing staff or Doctor, the procedure is explained to you and consent is required prior to procedure commencement.
The PRP injection
Does it hurt?
Only a superficial local anaesthetic injection can be used to numb the skin, as injection of local anaesthetic into the area where the PRP injection will be delivered can reduce the effectiveness of the PRP. A very fine needle is used to inject the PRP and the injection itself may be slightly uncomfortable. As the PRP injection is intended to produce an inflammatory response, most patients can expect a 'flare' in symptoms and will have some pain and stiffness for a few days after the procedure. This pain is usually only mild, and pain relief medication, rest, elevation of the area etc can be used to minimise the pain. Please note that no steroidal, or non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (eg. Nurofen, Ibuprofen) should be used for 10 days post procedure as it can interfere with the healing response. Icing of the area should be limited to 3 sessions / day and only used if rest and pain relief medication is insufficient.
Potential Risks & Complications with PRP
Whenever a needle is placed anywhere in the body, even something as simple as having blood collected for a blood test, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, and nerve damage, simply from placement of the needle. However these are rare and the risk of a complication should be weighed against the possible benefits.
The material that is injected back into the patient (the PRP) is a portion of their own blood, so there is no recognised risk of an allergic reaction or the body rejecting the PRP material. Because of this, the PRP therapy is considered to be very safe and natural.
For some patients, the only alternative for their management is surgery. PRP has far less risks than those associated with surgery or general anaesthetic. With the PRP injection, there is no hospital or admission required or lengthy recovery period. The injection of the PRP can be painful, and it is dependent upon which area is being injected and how inflamed and painful it already is. The pain during the injection is momentary though, and is similar to have an injection of local anaesthetic.
Post Procedure care
For some injection areas, the treating Doctor may recommend that the patient does not drive home after the procedure. Most patients can expect to return to their jobs or usual light activities right after the procedure, although some patients do report increased pain in the treatment area over the following week due to the accelerated healing process. For the first 10 days after the PRP injection the patient must not use anti-inflammatory topical gels or oral medication such as Voltaren, Nurofen, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Mobic etc as these are likely to interfere with the healing response. Panadol or Tylenol can be used for pain relief. Generally, patients may return to normal gym activities in 3-4 weeks after the treatment.
Patients can greatly support self-healing with regular rest, stretching, foam rolling, strengthening, and a nutrient-rich diet. For best results, patient receiving PRP injections should be participating in a GP or physiotherapist supervised rehabilitation program specific to their clinical need.