If you are suffering from knee pain or an injury, you might be weighing your treatment options. A PRP knee injection may help restore functionality to your damaged knee and reduce painful symptoms that are interfering with your life. Our team at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, is proud to offer this service alongside our other treatment options.
How Does a PRP Knee Injection Work?
When you come in for a PRP knee injection, the first thing we have to do is actually get the PRP. Platelet-rich plasma is found in your own blood and is packed full of natural healing abilities. This treatment can expedite healing and relieve pain for numerous injuries.
The process as a whole takes about an hour, but that’s mostly because we have to make the PRP from scratch every time. Each PRP treatment you receive will be from your own blood and is for your use only. After allotting time to draw your blood and process it in the centrifuge, the actual injection usually takes less than 10 minutes.
First, we’ll have a blood sample drawn. If you imagine going to the doctor for a blood test, that’s about the same amount of blood we’ll need for treatment.
Once we have the vials we need, the blood sample will be spun in our centrifuge machine until it separates into different layers.
One of these layers will be platelet-rich plasma, which forms when the platelets and the plasma in your blood merge together. We’ll take this new PRP and re-inject it into your knee.
The Timeline of Treatment
The immune system tends to react quickly to PRP therapy. Once the PRP solution is injected into your knee, it triggers your body to send healing reinforcements to the area. White blood cells process the damaged cells, then jump to action and prepare to fix up any injury.
As time goes on, cells in the treated area will continue to multiply as they restore and reconstruct the damaged tissue.
PRP Therapy Can Be Used for a Range of Issues and Injuries
A PRP injection can be extremely helpful for patients who either have suffered an injury to their knee or are dealing with chronic pain from something like osteoarthritis. However, PRP isn’t just used to treat knee injuries.
PRP therapy may also be used to treat the following:
- Injuries affecting the hip, spine, or elbows
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Plantar fasciitis
- A torn meniscus
PRP Is a Team Player
The kinds of injuries or conditions PRP therapy can help improve goes well beyond this list. Another impressive benefit is that PRP can often be paired with other treatments and even surgery.
When paired with other treatments, PRP injections may help make these treatments more effective or may be able to help you recover faster after going through surgery.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
A Rich History
We started to see the term PRP being used in the 1970s. It was used to describe plasma with a higher platelet count than what’s found in our circulating blood.
As more research was dedicated to PRP, people began to take notice of its healing abilities. It was particularly noted that this platelet-rich plasma had anti-inflammatory properties and could stimulate cell growth.
These discoveries eventually led to PRP therapy becoming a popular treatment for injuries suffered during sports.
Over time, as PRP therapy gained recognition, it began to be used for other conditions as well, including chronic joint issues and both pediatric and cardiac surgery. It’s even used for skin rejuvenation treatments.
How Often Will I Need To Get a PRP Knee Injection?
Each patient’s needs can vary. Some find that one treatment is all they need to get them on the right track, while others often benefit from a series of initial treatments. The goal of this first series of treatments is to get a good baseline when it comes to your comfort level.
Once that baseline is reached, patients who are looking to treat a long-term injury or chronic pain usually come back every four to six months to keep their comfort levels stable. Treatment schedules can be flexible, and while we may suggest a schedule we feel will work best for you, it’s ultimately your choice how often you want to seek out a follow-up treatment.
The Many Benefits of PRP Therapy
It’s Not Surgery
As you’re looking for ways to improve the health of your knee, the downtime and cost of surgery can make it a difficult pill to swallow. If we believe your condition is something PRP knee injections can improve, you may be able to avoid or delay surgery.
Even if you do have to get surgery, PRP may still be able to cut out some of that downtime by speeding up your recovery and improving your comfort levels.
It’s a Natural Alternative
Cortisone injections are a popular choice when it comes to treating knee pain. These injections can certainly be useful, but they aren’t a good fit for everyone. Cortisone is a synthetic corticosteroid, which has to be used mindfully as it may suppress the immune system. Its primary goal is to improve comfort.
In contrast, PRP is completely natural. It can improve comfort levels, but it also promotes healing. It can actually reduce inflammation and improve the underlying cause of your discomfort, instead of just helping you feel better.
It Can Help Slow-To-Heal Injuries
When ligaments and tendons are injured, they tend to heal very slowly. This is partly due to the fact that there isn’t as much blood flow in tendons and ligaments. PRP therapy pulls reinforcements into the injured area. This not only can speed up the healing process, but it can strengthen the treated tissues at the same time.
It Can Help With Age-Related Concerns
An aging body has a harder time healing itself as effectively. That means age can be a factor in the frequency and severity of injuries. PRP treatment can help boost the body’s healing response, protect injured areas, and also increase comfort.
It May Reduce Pain From Arthritis
The most common kind of arthritis is osteoarthritis, and it can affect any joint. It is especially common in the knees, hands, spine, and hips. This form of arthritis damages and breaks down the articular cartilage that caps the end of our bones.
As the cartilage is damaged, motion is compromised and pain and swelling can occur. Anyone can develop arthritis, but it is especially common in those aged 60 or more, or for those who heavily use their joints. PRP can help regenerate some of the lost tissue, which in turn can restore some lost joint function.
One reason this treatment is considered safe is the fact that nothing foreign is being introduced to your body. PRP uses your body to heal itself, so there isn’t much for the body to negatively react to. This treatment has also been used for decades at this point, giving practitioners plenty of time to gain a solid understanding of how and why it works.
During a consultation, we would be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns. Our priority is keeping you safe and happy, and providing treatment we feel has the best chance of helping you.
It’s a Good Option for a Wide Range of Patients
Before receiving this treatment, we’ll go over your medical history and make sure it’s a good fit for you. That said, in general, most people who are healthy enough to have their blood drawn will find themselves a good candidate for a PRP knee injection.
This treatment has helped patients worldwide. Its numerous uses and benefits are exciting, and more uses continue to be discovered as time goes on.
What Else Can We Do for Knee Injuries?
When you come in for a consultation, our priority will be to work with you and help you make the right treatment choice. We have several treatment options to choose from, so you may decide to go with PRP injections, one of our other treatments, or a combination.
Visco-supplementation is another one of our non-surgical treatment options. It’s a solution that has a gel-like consistency. When it’s injected into the joint of the knee, it helps cushion the knee and improve comfort and mobility. It serves as a replacement for synovial fluid and can be especially helpful for arthritis.
Continuous Passive Motion
Our CPM machine is used to gently move an injured knee as it is healing. This careful motion can help support healthy joint function and may help to reduce scar tissue formation. It’s able to move your joints without you having to use your muscles.
A tiny camera known as an “arthroscope” lets us look inside the joints of the knee to get a clear picture of what’s going on and where to apply the treatment. This makes it an ideal tool to use when it comes to joint issues.
To use the arthroscope, we will first make a very small opening so we can insert a thin tube that has a camera on the end of it. This camera will send us detailed images that we can examine. This is a diagnostic tool, but it’s also used during surgery to make the surgery as quick and effective as possible.
Arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is located in the center of the knee and helps connect the tibia and femur together. This is a crucial role, so an ACL tear is especially debilitating. ACL reconstruction can help the knee get back to a normal functionality so you can get back to a better level of comfort and mobility.
After we use an arthroscope to verify that the knee has injured cartilage, we can remove the damaged cartilage so it can be replaced with new cartilage growth.
Arthroscopic Loose Body Removal
When bits of cartilage or bone chip off, they can sometimes get stuck in the knee joints. If you imagine sand getting caught in a gear, that’s about the same effect. This can cause friction in the knee, which may lead to discomfort or a loss of knee mobility. This procedure removes any loose debris.
Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy or Meniscus Repair
The two menisci found in each of our knees act like “shock absorbers” and cushions for our knee joints. When these bits of cartilage are damaged, a partial meniscectomy can remove the damaged parts as a way to improve mobility.
A meniscus repair similarly is used to treat injured menisci. If you’ve torn one of your menisci during a sport or other activity, this surgery can help repair the tear.
Arthroscopic Microfracture Procedure
This treatment is a way to promote the healing of damaged cartilage. During this surgery, very small holes will be made into the base of the injured area. In response, the body will produce scar cartilage to replace the old cartilage.
We’re Ready To Help You Get Back on Your Feet
If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help treat your knee injury, contact our team at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, today for your consultation!