Considering PRP injection for the first time? You likely have lots of questions. Let’s give it to you straight. Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions, spelled out for you.
What is PRP?
PRP stands for Platelet-Rich Plasma. We take platelets concentrated in your plasma from your own blood. These platelets contain healing growth factors that boost the body’s natural healing processes and assist in tissue repair over time.
How Does PRP Injections for Knees Work?
A PRP injection is usually done to treat arthritis pain, though it can also help with torn ligaments and other knee pain. Often, ultrasound or real-time x-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) is used to more precisely inject the plasma into the damaged knee joint. Some patients experience swelling in the knee for a period of time. This usually clears up in a few weeks. For most patients, the injections reduce pain and improve knee function for 1 to 2 years.
What’s the Research on PRP Therapy?
Numerous studies have compared PRP therapy alongside common treatments like steroid shots, hyaluronic acid (HA) injections (knee gel shots), or physical therapy. PRP has been shown to be as effective or better than HA injections, more effective than steroids, and most effective when done in conjunction with a physical therapy program. Ideally, PRP should be supplemented by regular exercise. The good news is the healing benefits of PRP will boost your ability to exercise.
How Does PRP Therapy Compare to Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement should be considered a last resort because it is an extremely invasive procedure. We usually recommend knee replacement only after all options like PRP therapy and stem cell injections have been tried.
That being said, we have found PRP therapy to be highly effective for numerous patients in providing relief. Many of our patients have had PRP injections and avoided knee replacement altogether — or at least put off knee replacement while enjoying improved mobility in the meantime.