FAQs

FAQs

Your Questions, Answered

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If you’re considering PRP or stem cell treatment, chances are, you have many questions. Our doctors are here to answer them. While of course you’ll have questions related to your specific injury and course of treatment, we find that many of our patients have similar general questions. We’ve compiled those questions here so that you can be as educated as possible before you visit our office.

Read through the questions below to learn more about PRP and its benefits. If you want to know more, we invite you to call today to set an appointment.

What are PRP injections?

PRP injections are the future of medicine. Using the components in your own blood, our doctors can stimulate healing that starts from deep within. First, we’ll withdraw some of your blood; then we’ll put your blood into one of our advanced centrifuges to extract the platelets. (Platelets are known to contain growth factors that spur healing.) We’ll then inject that solution directly at the site of your injury, in some cases using ultrasound to guide us. Once in place, the growth factors in the platelets will stimulate your body to repair and heal itself. Usually, you can experience deep healing in only 1-3 injections.
What conditions can be treated with PRP?
PRP can be used to treat conditions from head to toe. Our doctors can give you a complete list. However, below is a short list of some conditions we often treat using PRP:

Muscle strains and tears
Chronic tendinopathies
Tennis elbow  Achilles tendon  Patellar tendon  o Rotator cuff
Ligament injuries
Medial collateral ligament (MCL)  Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
Osteoarthritis
 • Spine issues (neck, lower back, and mid back) such as arthritis and disc problems
 • Knee and hip pain, even if you are in need of surgery
Why use PRP injections to treat these injuries?
We believe that PRP should be used to treat these injuries because, put simply, PRP heals. Here are just a few reasons to try PRP:

• It can help you avoid surgery. • It’s minimally invasive. 
• It offers a fast recovery time and quicker deep healing than surgery. • It’s less painful than surgery.
How does PRP work?
When the PRP arrives at the site of the injury, the platelets unleash the growth factors. These growth factors cause a regenerative inflammation around the area of the injury, spurring healing. (This is why you shouldn’t take anti-inflammatory medication after PRP injections.) The result is restored ligaments and tendons as well as stronger, more resilient cartilage – in other words, healing.
Does PRP hurt?
Most patients find that the procedure is not very painful, and they tolerate it well. However, it’s common for the inflammatory response to produce soreness after the injection. Expect soreness and swelling for at least the first 48 hours after your injection. We’ll give you pain medication to help alleviate any discomfort. You can also use heat packs or hot compresses to soothe the pain.
How long does the procedure take?
We usually tell patients to allow 2 hours for their treatment, which includes preparation and recovery time. We’ll perform the procedure safely at our state-of-the-art office. While the procedure will take some time out of your day, the time you’ll save from surgery, a long recovery, general anesthesia, or a hospital stay will more than make up for it.
How quickly will PRP work?
You should see your first results in 2-6 weeks. As time passes, you’ll find that the pain lessens with every week that passes. Many patients see great improvement within 6-9 months of the treatment.
Are the injections safe?
In short, yes. There are no foreign substances being injected into your body, so most doctors consider the procedure to be very safe. The only possible complications are those of needle insertion, and they include bleeding, bruising, infection, and soreness.

However, all medical procedures carry risks – and that includes PRP. Still, what’s important to remember is that there are no foreign bodies being injected and no concern for disease transmission.

Many people are wary about PRP simply because it’s so new. The entire arena of autologous medicine (using patients’ own bodies to help them heal) is new. But while this is a new area for many patients, it is at the same time an extremely fast-growing field in medicine. There have been many publications in national and international journals that have proven over and over the safety and efficacy of these procedures. This is the future of medicine, and we expect we’ll see many treatments similar to PRP as the years go on.
I have already had surgery, and I’m still in pain. Am I a candidate for PRP treatment?
Yes. We have treated many patients in your situation, and we have been able to help most of them to improve their function, reduce their pain, and enjoy better quality of life.

However, you should keep in mind that the surgery you have had creates limitations on what we can achieve. Surgery disrupts the normal architecture of the body and replaces much of your normal tissue with extensive scar tissue. There is only so much PRP and stem cell treatments can do to help this – but we may still be able to leave you in a better position than you were in before our treatments.
Who is not a candidate for PRP?
Unfortunately, some patients are not good candidates for PRP. If you have any of the following conditions, we recommend that you do not undergo PRP until the condition is resolved:

• Severe anemia • Low platelet count • Abnormal platelet function 
• Active systemic infection • Active cancer
What are the expected outcomes of PRP?
We fully expect that you’ll be able to enjoy pain-free, normal living after PRP with full or near-full recovery of the function of the treated body part. Our goal is to heal your injury and stop your pain at the source. If you’re like most patients, you’ll start noticing improvement after a few weeks, improvement that builds as time goes on.

Studies and research have shown that the pain relief is both effective and lasting. Ultrasounds and MRI results show that the pain relief comes from healing – the tissues have actually been repaired. With repaired tissues and little to no pain, you should be able to avoid surgery, especially if you get the PRP treatment before the damage to your tissues becomes irreversible.
What’s the future of PRP?
We believe that PRP is the future – of medicine and pain relief. We fully expect that more and more patients will ask for PRP as the results of this innovative treatment come in. Physicians, too, will be excited, since they’ll have another effective treatment option to give to their patients. This kind of autologous treatment is only just beginning, and while we don’t know for certain what the future will hold for PRP treatment, we’re certainly excited to find out.
Is this simply a different version of a cortisone shot?
No. Cortisone is a way of managing pain, not creating healing. Cortisone is created from a synthetic corticosteroid. While certainly limited cortisone injections can be temporarily helpful, reducing inflammation and pain, they don’t resolve the underlying issue (disease process) that is causing the pain.

Furthermore, there are many risks to having too many cortisone injections. The immune system can be suppressed over time. Corticosteroids have also been shown to be toxic to tissue, and over time they cause more damage and accelerate the need for surgical interventions. On the other hand, PRP uses the patient’s own blood and natural growth factors. It doesn’t have the same side effects as cortisone. Most importantly, PRP aims to cure the disease, not merely manage the pain.
Will PRP work long-term?
We can’t answer that question here, as the answer is different for everyone. Your underlying disease process and recent injury history will affect how long and how well the treatment will work for you. We can’t predict whether you’ll need to come back for further treatment as time goes on. (An entirely new injury could lead to an entirely new course of treatment.) Sometimes patients do have to come back months or years later for further treatment; sometimes they do not.
Will my insurance cover PRP?
Many insurance companies consider PRP to be an experimental treatment and do not cover it. This “experimental” label does not mean that the treatment is ineffective or dangerous – it simply means that the insurance companies do not find covering the procedure to be in their financial interest. Anything an insurance company will not cover, they label as experimental, regardless of how well-accepted or effective the treatment happens to be. However, many patients find that the out-of-pocket costs are well worth the pain relief.
Why haven’t I heard of PRP before?
This treatment is extremely new – real progress has only been made in the last decade or so. New techniques, protocols, and trials are ongoing every day. Because this treatment is so cutting edge, it’s not part of standard medical school curricula yet. However, as the treatment evolves and wins more acceptance, we expect that the news will spread and the treatment will become available to more patients.
What should I do after my treatment? Can I resume normal activities?
While we give lots of information on this on our What to Expect page, we can give you a quick summary here:

• Drink plenty of fluids after the treatment. 
• Avoid strenuous activity such as working out or physically demanding tasks.
• Do not take anti-inflammatory medicine such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve for at least 4 weeks, as these can interfere with the healing process.
• Attend all follow-up visits we recommend. Do not skip appointments or wait longer than recommended, as this can make future treatments less effective.  
• If recommended, partake in a structured rehabilitation program.

We’ll give you more specific instructions for your particular condition when we treat you. 
What’s the difference between PRP treatment and stem cells?
PRP and stem cell treatments involve different types of cells. PRP has natural growth factors and proteins that can spur healing in soft tissue. Often, platelets will “recruit” stem cells from other areas in the body to continue healing, but in PRP-only treatment, this occurs naturally, without further intervention beyond the PRP injections.

Stem cell treatments are much more powerful, as we implant your own stem cells directly to the site of the injury. These cells take the identity of the cells needed to heal tissue and repair damage.

We often combine these treatments, since the PRP will be naturally recruiting stem cells to the site of the injury. However, if the injury itself is relatively minor and only requires a “jumpstart” to get the healing process underway, we may use PRP in isolation. It all depends on your particular treatment needs and goals.
PRP Hair Growth Treatment – Questions and Answers
What causes hair loss in women?
The “root” cause of hair loss in women is the weakening of hair follicles – what causes this weakening differs from woman to woman. Nearly 40 million American women suffer from hair thinning that’s due to heredity. This can start any time after puberty. However, there is a wide range of other factors that can cause hair loss in women, including nutrition, age, stress, surgery and medications, illnesses, social/lifestyle factors, hair care routines, and more.
What causes hair loss in men?
Hair loss in men is primarily hereditary. It follows a specific, progressive pattern (male pattern hair loss) that is triggered by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Just like in women, hair loss occurs when hair follicles weaken and stop producing new hair. As many as 60 million American men suffer from this kind of hair loss.
What are PRP hair regrowth treatments, and how do they work?
As with various soft-tissue injuries, PRP treatment for hair loss uses your own blood to jumpstart the healing process, healing damaged tissue and allowing you enjoy a fuller, thicker head of hair.

We will start by evaluating and measuring the area that concerns you, including taking standard medical photos. Using gentle, sterile techniques, we will then take a small sample of your blood. Our advanced centrifuges will separate that blood into its component parts, creating a high concentration of plasma rich with platelets. 

Next, we will prepare your scalp with an antiseptic solution and “ring block” anesthetic. Your scalp will be completely numb, allowing a 100% painless procedure. We will then inject that mixture directly into the problem area using electronic, mechanical micro-needling.

The growth factors and cytokines in the PRP have been shown to stimulate and enhance the function of hair follicles. We might combine this treatment with ECM or Extracellular Matrix (like ACell or BioD) for even better results.
Who are the ideal candidates for PRP treatment for hair loss?
If there is still “weak quality” hair growth on your scalp, where we can still see hair follicles, or if you have only small areas of alopecia areata, you could be an ideal candidate for this procedure.
How does combining this treatment with ACell or BioD improve the overall results of the treatment?
Many doctors and patients report that by adding Extracellular Matrix or ECM products like ACell (porcine bladder-derived) or BioD (human amniotic placenta-derived) to PRP, it’s possible to observe stronger hair growth that lasts longer.
When can I expect results from PRP?
Most patients see results in 6-12 months.
What are the risks and benefits for PRP treatment for hair loss?
The Benefits

PRP for hair loss is a comfortable, in-office procedure that only takes about an hour. Most of that time is spent in the preparation phase, so you don’t have to do anything – you just get to relax. Usually, doctors can measure improvement within 3 months of treatment; however, it may take 6-12 months for you to really notice the difference.

The Risks

The risks of the procedure are minimal and can certainly be managed. You may notice a brief period of inflammation, leading to a pink, numb scalp that lasts for a few hours. Rarely, patients experience swelling, which will only be noticeable in the forehead and around the eye area. This swelling usually starts the next day (when it occurs) and takes only a day or two to clear up.
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