Understanding PRP Injections and How to Prepare for Them

Michelle Hopkins

If you have a tendon injury or an ailment that has affected your connective tissues, then you do have some new treatment options available to you. One of these treatments includes administering PRP injections. These injections can be provided at your doctor's office with a little bit of preparation. Keep reading to find out more about them and how you can prepare for your injection appointment.

What Is a PRP Injection?

PRP stands for plasma rich protein, and this is the material that is inserted into the body. Plasma is the thin and watery part of your blood that carries the solid cells throughout your body. Platelets are small cell fragments that collect to create a clot. While the platelets do help to stop bleeding at a wound site, they also assist with healing and growth. This is due to the protein compounds that make up the platelets. 

Since platelets allow for good healing, concentrating them in one area can potentially quicken the healing process after an injury. And, injecting the platelets directly into the injury area allows for a more pinpointed approach to healing.

PRP injection compounds are prepared using your own blood. This means that your own platelets and plasma are used for the treatment. Small amounts of blood are removed at the time of your injection appointment. The blood is placed in a centrifuge that separates the plasma and the various cells from the blood. The plasma and platelets are removed, placed into a syringe, and carefully injected into the body.

Sometimes, the injection is also prepared with some lidocaine to reduce discomfort during the injection process. Lidocaine can also be injected separately before the main PRP injection.

How Can You Prepare?

There are some things that you should do to prepare for your injection. One of the most important things is to schedule an appointment when you have more than enough time. Since your own blood will be drawn and prepared for the injection, you can expect to spend an hour or more at the appointment. Due to the noninvasive nature of the treatment, you can drive yourself to the appointment, but you may want to bring a book or something else to occupy your time.

Also, you may need to adjust some of your medications before your injection. Specifically, any medicine that can cause bleeding issues may need to be reduced or stopped for a short period of time. Ask your doctor about this and whether or not this is safe for you to do. Steroidal medications can also interfere with the treatment, so let your injection specialist know if you are taking steroid medicines.