PRP injection therapy
What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy (PRP therapy), is a growing treatment approach for soft tissue injuries including tendon, muscle and ligaments. It is also showing good results for mild to moderate osteoarthritis.
While this approach has been used overseas for many years, it is fairly new to Australia in the treatment of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions.
How does PRP work?
Some tissues in the body have a poor blood supply or respond poorly to excessive load and ultimately fail to heal naturally. While some of our primary treatment such as physiotherapy, massage, biomechanical correction and other forms of treatment are used to treat these soft tissue injuries, sometimes the body fails to respond.
PRP therapy utilises the healing properties in blood to allow a healing reaction to occur in a tissue that is not healing on its own. Our blood has small granules called “platelets” and these contain special growth factors that when released, allow stem cells in the particular tissue to switch on and then cause new tissue to be synthesised and heal the injured area.
An example can be an achilles tendinopathy. If the achilles is painful, thickened and not responding to rehabilitation, then the sports physician will inject the PRP into the achilles and this will cause the tendon cells (tenocytes/fibroblasts) to synthesise new achilles collagen to strengthen the achilles. White blood cells also enter the area to mop up any achilles tissue that may have been damaged due to the ongoing pain and thickening in the area.
What is the PRP procedure when I have the injection?
If your surgeon or referring doctor indicates you are a candidate for PRP therapy, then the procedure can be done at Bounce Health Group in Blackburn by one of our Sports Physicians experienced in this technique.
Your initial consultation may not include the PRP injection as the doctor will further assess your injury to confirm your pathology and identify the area to inject. Sometimes the doctor may require some further scanning/investigations prior to having PRP therapy.
The procedure itself will take approximately 45 minutes. During this time the doctor & nurse will take some blood from your arm (much like taking blood for a normal blood test), and then your blood will be placed in a special spinning device called a centrifuge (TGA approved). Your blood will be prepared in this machine and then the “platelets” will be taken from the machine and then injected into the site of your injury. The injection is done under ultrasound guidance in-rooms at Bounce Blackburn for accuracy in injection placement.
Our doctors use a local anaesthetic so that the pain from the injection is minimal during and after the procedure. Following the procedure you may drive home however it may be appropriate to have someone with you should you like some company following the injection.
What are the steps after I have the PRP injection at Bounce Health Group?
Following your injection, you will be provided with a pain chart to allow you to track how you have gone prior to coming back for a review visit with the doctor. Usually the doctor will ask to see you 1 to 2 weeks following your injection and during this time you are instructed not to over exert yourself.
In regards to specific activity, depending on your injury being treated, the doctor will discuss exactly what you can or cannot do. You may require some targeted and specific rehabilitation by a physiotherapist.
What are the expected results of PRP?
Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.
When do I start rehabilitation after the PRP injection?
The doctors at Bounce suggest you undergo a specific rehabilitation program which will optimise the healing capacity of the tissue that has had PRP therapy. Exercise/loading of these tissues make them stronger so that you reduce your risk of ongoing problems.
Our doctors are happy to work with your treating therapist with the expectation they understand the requirements of a rehabilitation program following a PRP injection. If you do not have a physiotherapist or other therapist to assist with your rehabilitation post injection, then the doctor will recommend a physiotherapist or other suitable allied health clinician. Usually rehabilitation can start approximately 2 weeks post injection after the initial healing phase.
What if I still have pain after PRP?
PRP therapy, when done with the correct technique and equipment can be very successful. However depending on the severity of injury, lifestyle, adherence to post injection instructions etc, some people may still have some ongoing pain. If this occurs the doctor will reassess the problem and decide the best course of action. Sometimes this can include a second or third injection due to more healing factors from the PRP required to allow complete healing to occur.
Do I need a doctors referrals & can I claim a medicare rebate if I have PRP injection therapy?
Although not essential, we do prefer you have a GP or Surgeon referral, as you can claim the maximum rebate with a doctors referral. A physio, osteo or chiropractor can refer you, however you will claim back significantly less through medicare. As a Sports Physician is providing the injection you are eligible for significant rebates through medicare. Please discuss this with our reception staff who work with the doctors.
How do I arrange an appointment?
Appointments can be arranged by calling our 1300 855 442 number and pressing option 2 (Blackburn Clinic). Our reception staff will be able to arrange your appointment and obtain all the necessary information to ensure your consultation and procedure runs as smoothly as possible.
Click here for more information regarding PRP Therapy.