Platelet-Rich Injection Therapy (or PRP) represents a new and exciting method for treating moderate-to-severe joint pain. The technique is simple, non-invasive, and extremely safe. First, a small volume of the patient’s own blood is drawn (30-60 ml), and spun down in a centrifuge that concentrates and isolates the blood’s natural healing agents, such as platelets, growth factors and signaling proteins. The product is then injected into the injured joint; this triggers a cascade of natural healing processes that can repair damage to the bone or tendons, and alleviate pain.
Dr. Lefkowitz is particularly eager to offer this treatment, as he believes strongly in its effectiveness and its usefulness for the patients he treats. Typically, our patients have already failed other forms of conservative therapy, such as medication, physical therapy, and home exercise, which makes them ideal candidates for PRP therapy.
How much time does it take?
A PRP injection is very straightforward. After collecting the patient’s relevant medical history, it only takes a few moments to draw blood. The centrifuging process takes 15 minutes, and the injection can be administered immediately afterwards. Typically, the treatment as a whole can be completed in an hour.
What is the follow-up treatment?
Dr. Lefkowitz will ask the patient to return 2-3 weeks after receiving a PRP injection in order to evaluate the extent of the recovery and assess the need for any further treatment. Very occasionally it can take a series of up to 3 injections, spread out over a few months, to obtain maximal relief.
Who is a good candidate?
PRP is recommended for patients with joint pain (generally in the knee, hip, shoulder or elbow) who have already attempted more conservative therapy, and are looking for a non-surgical option.
Is this the treatment that athletes use?
Yes, PRP has been used by dozens of professional athletes and thousand of recreational athletes. Professional names we all recognize include Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Troy Polamalu, Ray Lewis, Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams, Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, and many, many others.
How much does it cost?
The FDA has approved the use of PRP in Orthopaedic surgery, and approval is pending for other clinical settings. Insurance companies, however, still consider the treatment as off-label, and do not cover it. In hospitals, the charge for PRP can be as high as $2,000. Dr. Lefkowitz, however, wants the procedure to be accessible to his patients so he is able to administer PRP for just $500.