Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP, is a treatment option for non- healing tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis and knee tendonitis.

PRP technology was initially developed 20 years ago for heart surgery to aid with wound healing and blood loss. Its benefits are now being applied towards the facilitation of healing tendon and bone injuries.

How does the PRP procedure work?

Using the patient’s own blood, specially- prepared platelets are taken and then re-injected into the tendon of the affected area. These platelets release substances known as “growth factors” that lead to tissue healing. For example, when you cut yourself, the body’s natural response is to attract platelets that release growth factors and facilitate the healing. By concentrating the platelets we increase the growth factors up to eight times which promotes the healing of tendons.

While other tendon injury treatments such as corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, PRP injections actually heal the tendon over a period of time.

The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself and by re-injecting concentrated platelets we are facilitating the natural healing process.

Is PRP right for me?

Patients should consider PRP treatment if they have been diagnosed with a tendon injury in which conservative treatment such as anti- inflammatories, physical therapy and bracing have not provided symptomatic relief. For most patients PRP offers a solid, alternative treatment for those who do not wish to have surgery. An initial evaluation will determine if PRP is a viable treatment option.

How do I prepare for an injection?

Patients will be scheduled for an evaluation to determine if PRP is a viable treatment option. An MRI may be done prior to the injection to insure a proper diagnosis and determine if there is a major tear in the tendon that might best be treated surgically.

The PRP injection usually takes an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis. Do not take anti-inflammatories one week prior to the injection as this will limit the treatment benefits.

How do I care for my injection site after treatment?

Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Patients may apply ice and elevation as needed. It is not advisable to take anti-inflammatory medications following the injection. Notify your physician if you have an allergy to epinephrine or bupivicaine (marcaine). If you are unsure, contact your family physician.

What are potential benefits of PRP treatment?

Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms; elimination of the need for more traditional treatments such as medications, cortisone injections or surgery; and a dramatic return of function.

What are the significant side effects of PRP?

Although uncommon, the risks include those signs/symptoms associated with an injection including: pain, infection, no relief of symptoms, worsening of symptoms, blood clot, nerve injury, skin discolouration, calcification, scarring, loss of fat to the affected area, and allergic reaction.

After the injection, if you experience any of the above side effects, please contact your family doctor.

 

Stem Cell Injections

 

What is Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate?

Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) therapy uses a patient’s own stem cells, which aid in tissue regeneration and bone formation. Studies show improvements in tendon injuries and in early to moderate osteoarthritis. The stem cells will be taken from your iliac crest. Your cells will then be put into the harvest machine to prepare the concentrate. PRP will be used to help activate the BMAC. As an analogy, BMAC is like putting a seed in a garden, and PRP is like adding the fertilizer. Once these steps have been completed, your BMAC injection will be ready to use in treatment.

The BMAC procedure:

The BMAC procedure begins by extracting bone marrow from the back of the patient’s hip or pelvis, which is locally numbed so no pain is felt. A syringe attached to a needle suctions the bone marrow sample from the backside of the hip. The sample is run through a filter, and then placed in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and stem cells, which make up the Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC), from the rest of the sample. The concentration of platelets and stem cells are then injected into the injured area under ultrasound guidance.

Is BMAC right for me?

Patients should consider BMAC treatment if they have been diagnosed with mild to moderate to severe osteoarthritis and/or tendon injuries in which conservative treatment like anti-inflammatories, bracing, or physical therapy has not provided symptomatic relief. Initial evaluation will determine whether BMAC is a viable treatment option.

How do I prepare for an injection?

If BMAC treatment is recommended, you will need to book an appointment with our office. The procedure is done at our private clinic and takes approximately 1 hour. You will be able to return home after the injection.

How do I care for my injection site after treatment?

Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Patients may apply ice and elevate as needed. It is advisable to take anti-inflammatory medications following the injection.

What are the potential benefits of BMAC?

Unlike treatments that mask the symptoms of tissue damage, BMAC therapy can actually help heal damaged tissue to alleviate pain, reduce or eliminate the need for traditional treatments like medications or surgery, and dramatically increase the patient’s function.

What are the potential side effects of BMAC?

Although uncommon, the potential side effects that may be experienced after undergoing BMAC treatment may include; swelling, pain, joint stiffness, no relief of symptoms, infection, and/or allergic reaction.

Should you experience any of the above side effects, please contact your family doctor immediately.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients only require one BMAC treatment depending on the severity of their injury. In more severe cases, a second treatment may be considered.

When can I get back to my daily routine?

Patients may experience swelling and discomfort for 2-3 days. Symptoms usually resolve approximately one week after the injection, but timeframes may differ on an individual basis.

Is BMAC painful?

The BMAC procedure is performed under local anesthetic. Minimal discomfort may be experienced.

How long does it take for BMAC to work?

Most patients notice improved function and decreased pain by 2 to 6 weeks following the injection.

BMAC vs. PRP:

Platelet Right Plasma (PRP) is generally used for more mild cases of osteoarthritis or tendon injuries. Whereas PRP facilitates healing through the aid of growth factors, BMAC uses regenerative stem cells to facilitate healing.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions, concerns or problems, please contact our office:  

Phone: 902.473.7626

Fax: 902.425.3879

 For after hour calls, please call the Nova Scotia Nurses line at 811.

 You may contact your family physician with questions, concerns or problems.

For urgent issues, you may go to the nearest Emergency Department.