You are possibly a candidate for platelet-rich plasma. Platelet-rich plasma is used to treat many causes of pain, mostly tendon, ligament and joint pain. Platelet-rich plasma can also be used for muscle strains and tears.  During your consultation, we will review your medical history images examine you and determine if platelet-rich plasma is an appropriate option.

Platelet-rich plasma involves injecting platelets and natural growth factors into the areas that are causing pain. The activated platelets and growth factors accelerate the healing response in tissue, which makes the injury heal quicker.

This procedure has been done for many decades and is safe in treating non-surgical injuries to the muscle, tendon, ligament and joint.

In our clinic, we use ultrasound to review and evaluate the areas that are causing the pain. If platelet-rich plasma is appropriate, we then draw your blood and spin it in a centrifuge to separate out the healthy platelets and growth factors. Once the separation process is complete,  we use the ultrasound to guide the platelet-rich plasma injection into fascial planes, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or joints. Each procedure lasts typically takes 45 minutes to an hour. It may involve multiple injections in order to adequately treat the entire region that is causing pain.

In most cases, the injections are not painful but can be uncomfortable. We used the smallest needle possible in order to inject the areas of interest. In addition, we use lidocaine to numb the area prior to injection.

Soreness may occur from days to weeks. The level of soreness is mild to moderate. Remember, that in many cases we are also performing a hydrorelease or hydrodissection. This procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic in between fascial adhesions (knots). Because we are breaking up scar tissue, you may experience more soreness for a longer period of time. We do recommend that you eat a full meal and are well-hydrated prior to your procedure to avoid potential lightheadedness after the procedure.

If you experience severe soreness, please send us a portal message to update us.

Platelet-rich plasma injections are not the same as cortisone injections. Cortisone injections are anti-inflammatory injections that are best used in areas of acute or recent injury. Many times we will perform cortisone injections before starting platelet-rich plasma treatment to reduce inflammation if noted doing your ultrasound evaluation. Cortisone does have many side effects that are not necessarily beneficial for tissue healing; therefore, we typically do not recommend more than 2 treatments of cortisone injections.

It usually takes less than 45 minutes to an hour to administer the platelet-rich plasma. There is no recuperation period, and you may leave the office immediately.  Often you will be in the office for an hour or more on the first visit to review your medical history, to take a physical, go over your medical reports and labs, and have time to ask questions and have the answers fully explained.

If you have a tendency to get lightheaded during injections or if getting platelet-rich plasma in your lower extremities, you may want to come to the clinic with a driver.

For the first two days or so you may feel an achy soreness in the areas of the injection.  For the first three weeks, you may feel the same, better or worse as the healing process proceeds.  Any noticeable increase in strength, decrease in pain, improvement in sleep, or change in other symptoms is evidence that the healing process has been triggered.

Do not be alarmed if you have a robust inflammatory response that makes your pain worse than before the injection. This is a good sign that the healing cascade has started.

Although platelet-rich plasma has been used for many decades, research in this area is poor for a variety of reasons. There is no evidence of a condition becoming permanently worse from receiving treatments. Also, because actual healing occurs, it is anticipated that long-lasting or even permanent relief of one’s pain can take place. If an area is re-injured, more treatments may be necessary for the future.

During your platelet-rich plasma treatment session, we want to teach new tissue how to grow healthy and respond in a healthy manner. We more than likely will send you to physical therapy to begin retraining your body and improving your biomechanics so the injured tissues heal properly. After your injection, please follow your specific post-injection instructions.

If you feel pain during an activity, back off of it.

The number of treatments varies with each patient but you will likely need 2 sessions. Some cases require more treatments.

Other than soreness, there have been no documented complications from platelet-rich plasma.
Anytime a needle is stuck through the skin there is a risk for excessive bleeding, nerve damage, muscle damage, lung puncture, or infection. However, we use a very clean technique and ultrasound guidance to ensure a safe injection. At the time of your visit, we will discuss other possible risks that pertain to your specific case.

However, complications are rare, and ultrasound guidance is used to ensure safe and proper needle placement.

Because we are injecting your own blood, the treatment is very safe and the amounts used are within manufacturer guidelines.

Because platelet-rich plasma causes inflammation, you will often note some bruising, pain, stiffness, and swelling in the area after receiving the injection.  Typically this lasts 1 to 7 days.  On rare occasions, it lasts longer.  Lasting longer is not necessarily bad, some people just have a more robust inflammatory response.  Since the treatment works by inflammation, lingering pain after platelet-rich plasma treatment can be a sign of healing.  If the pain is severe after the injection, then call  504-988-8010 or send a portal message and provide us with an update. Platelet-rich plasma should not cause excessive, severe pain.  Severe pain after platelet-rich plasma, especially accompanied by a fever, could indicate an infection.  If you have a fever or any other concerning signs or symptoms, please call the office or go to the emergency room/urgent care immediately.

Yes, a light meal and plenty of water are recommended prior to the procedure. This will improve the lightheadedness that you may experience during the procedure.

Unfortunately, most insurance carriers do not cover this service.  Even though more and more physicians are realizing the tremendous pain relief platelet-rich plasma provides patients, this is still not a covered therapy.

We recommend submitting your receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement or application to your deductible. You may also use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for the treatments tax-free.

It is difficult to explain why these procedures are not covered by medical insurance. Platelet-rich plasma treatments have been done for many decades with good benefits. It is challenging to perform robust clinical trials on platelet-rich plasma because funding for research for alternative and regenerative treatments is limited if the treatments are not profitable in the modern medical environment.
Multiple studies have been performed on platelet-rich plasma and determined that more research is needed, although the research presented did support the beneficial use and safety of platelet-rich plasma. Our clinic is working to raise funding to further prove the safety and benefit of platelet-rich plasma treatments in improving pain.

The main issue is that it is difficult to standardize platelet-rich plasma because the amount of platelets and plasma content is different with every person.

Although CMS and insurance companies consider platelet-rich plasma “experimental,” it is not. Platelet-rich plasma has been done for many years with good results and extreme safety.

Think of it like changing a tire. If the alignment is off and the tires are pushed too much she will wear out quicker than it should. If tires are rotated and driven at appropriate speeds then a tire will last a long time. In many cases, platelet-rich plasma treatment can be permanent.

The average cost is between $400-$1000 per treatment. Please contact our office for the most current rate. This cost covers the entire visit including exam, ultrasound exam, ultrasound-guided injection, and any other evaluation or treatments needed during that visit.

Platelet-rich plasma treatment is not taught in medical school. Ultrasound evaluation of orthopedic injuries is also not taught in medical. Fortunately, many are becoming more aware of the benefits of platelet-rich plasma in treating chronic pain.

Soreness generally means the treatment is working and is a good sign of healing. If you are severely sore, please send us a portal message or call the office. If concerned, do not hesitate to go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care.

Remember, complications from platelet-rich plasma treatments are extremely rare; however, if concerned, again seek medical treatment.

If you recently received a platelet-rich plasms injections, here are the post-injection instructions.