What is a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection?
MIC offers innovative platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to treat joint and soft tissue pain or injuries. These injections are a safe and effective autologous treatment. By using your body’s own healing properties, PRP injections can potentially help reduce pain, increase your range of motion, and shorten your recovery time.
This procedure is quite straightforward. We start by drawing a small vial of your blood and placing it in a centrifuge. The spinning action of the centrifuge separates your blood into platelet-poor plasma, packed red blood cells and platelet-rich plasma.
The platelet-rich plasma contains a potent concentration of white blood cells, platelets, and plasma proteins—the tools your body uses to repair and regenerate tissue whenever you are injured. It also includes anti-inflammatory proteins which can help block cartilage destruction in arthritic joints.
We then extract your PRP from the centrifuged blood and prepare your injection. MIC offers two procedures depending on the area being treated:
- For soft tissue injuries such as sprains or tears to ligaments or tendons, MIC uses the Zimmer Biomett GPS III Platelet Concentration System.
- For joint issues such as damage caused by arthritis, MIC uses the Zimmer Biomet nSTRIDE Autologous Protein Solution (APS) System.
At MIC, all PRP injections are performed by our expert musculoskeletal (MSK) radiologists—doctors with specialized training in image-guided treatments for soft tissue and joint issues. Your MSK radiologist will use either ultrasound or fluoroscopy imaging to guide the injection, ensuring accurate and precise delivery of the platelet-rich plasma to the target area.
How do PRP injections work?
When you hurt yourself, your body immediately sends platelets to the injured area. Their job is two-fold: platelets prevent excessive bleeding through clotting and release growth factors which promote healing. By delivering a high concentration of platelets to the target area, PRP injections mimic your body’s response to a new injury and intensify your body’s natural ability to heal.
How do PRP injections help with arthritis?
Arthritic joints have an imbalance between inflammatory cytokines (“bad” proteins) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (“good” proteins). The result is pain and cartilage degeneration. PRP joint injections introduce high levels of the “good” proteins which have been shown to reduce pain in the arthritic joint, improve joint function and slow the destruction of cartilage.
Six simple steps to healing with PRP
Collect Blood A small vial of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm.
Separate the Components The vial of blood is placed in a centrifuge. The spinning action separates the blood into components.
Extract the Platelet-Rich Plasma The white blood cells and platelet-rich plasma are extracted from the separated blood and the injection is prepared.
Prepare the Site We sterilize the treatment area and give you a local anesthetic to “freeze” the soft tissue.
Image-Guidance to Pinpoint the Target Our radiologist will use ultrasound or fluoroscopy imaging to guide the injection to the target area.
Inject Injured Area With PRP Our radiologist will inject the PRP which stimulates your body’s healing process.
Are PRP injections safe?
Yes. Since this procedure uses your own blood to prepare the injection, the chances of an adverse reaction are extremely rare.
We do not recommend the procedure for patients who are pregnant; have a history of low platelet count or low hemoglobin level; take anticoagulant therapy such as Coumadin or Plavix; have an active infection or local tumor at the site of the injection; or have metastatic cancer.
Pain relief following a PRP injection can take time. You should expect to start seeing results 3-4 weeks after your procedure. The healing process may take even longer for some patients. If you do not notice results, or your healthcare practitioner feels it might be beneficial, you can have repeat PRP injections.
You will need a requisition from your healthcare practitioner for a PRP Injection. These injections are not covered by Alberta Health Care Insurance and MIC charges a fee based on the type of procedure:
- $450 for the GPS III Platelet Concentration System for image-guided soft tissue procedures.
- $950 for the nSTRIDE Autologous Protein Solution System for image-guided joint procedures.
The cost may be reimbursable under certain extended health benefit plans or health spending accounts.
What to expect
- You will need to stop using all anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Voltaren, etc.) for one week before your procedure.
- When you arrive at our clinic for your appointment, we will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form.
- We will draw a small amount of blood which will be processed in a centrifuge to prepare the PRP injection. Once the injection is ready, a technologist will take you into a treatment room and help position you on a table.
- One of our radiologists will evaluate and sterilize the treatment area and give you a local anesthetic to “freeze” the soft tissue.
- The radiologist will then use ultrasound or fluoroscopy imaging to guide a sterile needle to the affected area and inject the PRP preparation.
- You will be assessed by a member of our team after your injection. If there are no concerns, you will be free to leave.
- The procedure usually takes between 60-90 minutes.
- Depending on the area being treated, we may recommend you arrange for a ride home and bring crutches.
- A common side effect of the procedure is mild pain or aching at the injection area that gradually subsides within 24-48 hours. You may also have some bruising at the site of injection. Over-the-counter pain medications (not anti-inflammatory) such as Tylenol or using ice packs on the area will help.
- You should avoid strenuous activity or physiotherapy for a least five days after your injection and gradually return to normal activity.
- If possible, avoid all anti-inflammatory medications for two weeks after your procedure. These medications may interfere with the effectiveness of your injection.