What To Expect During and After PRP/Stem Cell Treatments
First, we will evaluate your injury and use musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound or MRI to closely examine the injured area and determine if you would be a good candidate for PRP treatment. We recommend that you avoid taking anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen or naprosyn) or aspirin for at least one week prior to beginning PRP or Stem Cell treatment. On the day of the treatment your blood will be drawn from a small vein in your arm for PRP. In Stem Cell harvest, the area that the material will be aspirated from is the iliac crest. This aspirated material will be placed into a special centrifuge machine designed specifically for concentrating either stem cells or plasma. The separation and concentration process will take about 15 minutes to produce the platelet rich plasma. During this time your physician will re-evaluate the injured area with the ultrasound and pinpoint the exact area for treatment. The area will be anesthetized with a local anesthetic. The concentrated material will then be injected into the injured area using a sterile procedure and ultrasound guidance. The entire office procedure should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes. You should expect mild discomfort but no pain during the procedure.
Problems that can occur following either of these procedures include:
- Pain at the aspiration site (for BMAC)
- Excessive bleeding
- Transient neuropathy (for BMAC)
In some cases, depending on the nature of the injury, a brace or splint may be required to be worn for the first several days after the procedure. All soreness from the procedure should resolve within 48 hours and you should be able to resume all normal activities. In most cases, we recommend that you do not take antiinflamatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Motrin, etc for about two weeks. These drugs tend to inhibit some of the inflammatory response that the therapy is intended to generate. Instead, you should take Tylenol (acetaminophen) and perhaps ice the area is there is local discomfort.
Depending on the nature of the injury physical therapy may be required during the healing process. If needed, a specialized rehabilitation program developed at SCOI will be personalized to your condition. This may include special modalities such as ASTYM and Sonorex treatment to aid in the healing and regeneration process.
The amount of time before all symptoms resolve and the tissue is fully healed will depend on the nature and extent of the injury and may range from 1-2 weeks to 1-2 months. You will then be re-examined in the office, perhaps with musculoskeletal ultrasound or a new MRI to confirm tissue healing and that the problem is “cured.” Occasionally a second PRP treatment may be required if complete healing and regeneration does not occur. However, in our experience approximately 80% of patients experience significant, if not complete resolution of symptoms after only one treatment.