What is PRP?
PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma is a biological treatment for chronic elbow pain such as Tennis or Golfers elbow.
It is produced by taking a sample of the patient’s own blood (10-15 mls), much in the same way as a blood test would be performed, and placing this into a centrifuge to spin it very fast.
This separates the blood into different layers, the PRP layer which is the top layer can then be easily separated from the remainder of the blood sample. It is this PRP, which is used to inject into the elbow. The injection is usually done under Ultrasound guidance to ensure it is delivered into the optimum location.
PRP contains highly concentrated levels of growth factors which encourage the damaged tendon to heal by promoting cells to regenerate and micro blood vessels to grow into the damaged tendon.
How is it performed?
PRP therapy is performed under local anaesthetic and takes only a few minutes to perform.
Mr Matthews identifies the area for treatment by ultrasound examination. The blood sample is then taken and the PRP is prepared. The injection is then placed exactly into the area of tendon damage, guided by ultrasound. The injection is not usually painful, and local anaesthetic helps minimise it, but afterwards the elbow may feel achey and swollen, much the same as one would feel with a bruise or injury; this usually settles down within 24 to 48 hours.
During this time ice packs can be applied to reduce the swelling. Painkillers like paracetamol or co-codamol can be used if the pain is not tolerable, but anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, Diclofenac or Naproxen MUST NOT be used, as these drugs interfere with PRP therapy.
When will I notice any improvements?
Unlike cortisone injections which if effective usually work within the first few days of administration, but then often wear off after several weeks or months, PRP takes many weeks, even months for the patient to notice a significant benefit.
If PRP therapy does not work then Mr Matthews will discuss with you other treatment options for your condition.