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PRP Therapy in Asheville, NC

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What is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)?

Dr. Christie Lehman is excited to offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy at Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to help reduce inflammation and discomfort in areas of the body. PRP therapy is one of the most popular and innovative procedures on the market because of its natural method and exciting results. The treatment utilizes a patient's very own plasma to stimulate and rejuvenate tissue, alleviating symptoms of chronic or new pain in the joints. If you are interested in PRP therapy, call Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Asheville, NC to schedule a private consultation. Dr. Lehman is always excited to discuss all the benefits of PRP and how it can help you feel your best.

What Is a Regenexx SCP?

The Regenexx Super Concentrated Platelet (SCP) Procedure and Platelet Lysate (PL) uses growth factors from your blood to repair damaged tissue.

For most patients, the recommended SCP or PL protocol involves a blood draw and an injection on the same day. This process applies to procedures for the knee, hip, shoulder, hand, wrist, foot, ankle, and elbow. Platelet Lysate is often recommended for back and spine treatments due to its fast release and reduced inflammation.

The PRP Therapy Technique

On your procedure day, blood is drawn from a vein in your arm. This blood is then processed and prepared in our lab for re-injection within 24 hours. We use this blood to prepare an injection of highly concentrated platelet-rich plasma containing the growth factors isolated from your blood. This blood draw takes 15 – 30 minutes. During a second visit, this platelet-rich plasma is injected under image guidance into the treatment site. This procedure takes 20 – 30 minutes.

What can I expect after PRP Therapy?

The Regenexx SCP and PL injections produce a micro-injury in the joint. As a result, expect the joint to be sore for 1 – 3 days. Your physician may prescribe pain medicines that will not hinder the healing caused by the procedure. Patients can additionally take Tylenol but are asked to avoid NSAIDs. The goal is to allow the bone marrow to attach and then to protect them while they differentiate into various tissues. For this reason, you will be asked to keep the joint as still as possible for 30 – 60 minutes after the procedure. For the first day after, you should limit activity on the joint. Wear all recommended braces or boots.

Most patients report a modest improvement in the first month. You will notice that as time goes on, your pain that occurred before is less severe and frequent. Most patients are able to resume light activities after 5 – 7 days. Usually, at 6 – 8 weeks, patients begin to resume a more vigorous exercise schedule. Most of our very active patients are able to return to their regular routine in six weeks and push their performance to higher levels in 8 – 12 weeks. Improvements will continue throughout this time period. Most patients notice continued healing over many months. Our outcome data suggest peaking at 1 – 2 years out. Results vary by patient and depend on the condition of the area treated, as well as the patient's age and general health. Kick-start your normal healing process to encourage your body to heal itself. Regenexx’s proprietary lab processing allows us to remove nearly all of your white and red blood cells so that what is being injected contains only what your body needs to help repair damage. This difference between Regenexx’s super-concentrated PRP and most other PRP is visible. The usual standard fare PRP is reddish in color because it still contains a significant number of red blood cells while Regenexx’s PRP is amber in color. In addition, Regenexx PRP is more concentrated by a factor of 3X – 5X above what a basic bedside centrifuge machine can produce for physicians. Our in-vitro experiments demonstrate that this produces better tissue healing in tendon injuries and better stimulation of the local bone marrow.

Frequently Asked Questions about PRP Therapy

Does PRP therapy really work?
Yes. Much research has gone into the development of PRP-based procedures. (see blog)

How do I know if I am a candidate for PRP therapy?
PRP therapy is advised for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis or chronic tendonitis in or around the large and small joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers, hip, knee, ankle, toes). Typically, the patient has failed conservative treatment options, such as rest, medication, and physical therapy.

Who is NOT a candidate for PRP therapy?

  • Anyone with cancer (such as prostate cancer or breast cancer) not in remission for at least three years
  • Certain other malignancies or blood-borne diseases that you are being treated for
  • Any current infection
  • Patients with multiple medical issues may not be good candidates

What is the cost of PRP therapy?
The cost of PRP treatment may vary, depending on the area(s) being treated. Insurance companies will not pay for PRP. This is paid for out of pocket. 

How long do I have to wait to return to my normal activities?
How quickly you can return to your normal activities depends on the condition and body part being treated.

  • Depending on what area is treated, a brace, sling, or walking boot may be used for a few days.
  • Most patients are able to return to work the day following the procedure unless they experience a significant post-injection flare-up. In that situation, the patient may need an extra day off work.
  • There will likely be some post-injection soreness. Return to normal activities may be related to how long this lasts – several days usually.

How long does it take the PRP to "work"?
PRP does not offer quick pain relief. The pain gradually subsides as the injured tissue repairs and pain-relieving factors activate. This can take weeks or months, but when successful, the effect is lasting. Maximum effects are usually seen at 6 – 9 months. Some areas may require 2 – 3 injections in closer succession. Protocols are regularly evolving.

How soon can I return to normal and athletic activities after PRP?
Return to athletic activity depends on the type and site of injury. Most chronic tendon injuries that have failed to respond to any other type of treatment will generally take quite a number of weeks to heal. Injections into joints and acute muscle injuries respond a bit sooner.

Are there any side effects or complications of PRP?
No serious complications have been reported related to PRP. Like any injection, there is a risk of infection or damage to a nerve or blood vessel. However, there is not a risk of adverse reaction to the platelets the way there is to a medication (ex. corticosteroids).

What are the side effects of commonly used cortisone injections (alternative treatment)?
Cortisone injections have been widely used over many years to treat sports injuries and arthritis. Unlike PRP injections, cortisone injections allow only inflammation and pain to settle down and they do not induce healing. Hence, in many conditions, the pain will recur due to a lack of healing. Also, steroid injections have potential complications, such as skin atrophy, discoloration, weakening, and rupture of the tendon where the injection is given, joint deterioration, and infection, among others.

Can I drive home after the PRP injection?
It is Dr. Lehman's preference for you to have a driver.

Do I need to schedule a follow-up appointment for PRP?
Yes, Dr. Lehman will want to see you back in the clinic to check your progress. You will be asked to make a follow-up appointment usually 10 – 12 weeks following the injection.

Can I take my normal medication(s) before and after the injection?
Do not take anti-inflammatory medication, such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Mobic, Naproxen, or Diclofenac, for seven days prior to the injection and several weeks after the last injection. Pain medication will be prescribed on the day of the procedure to be taken as needed. A regular aspirin regimen (81mg/day) is ok. Tylenol/Acetaminophen is allowed.

What is the "typical" response to PRP treatment?
Research and clinical experience suggest that PRP can successfully treat pain from chronic degeneration and tears of tissue tendons, and pain from mild to moderate joint articular cartilage degeneration. It is important to understand that PRP isn't a miracle cure. Dr. Lehman sees a pretty high percentage of patients get over 50% relief though. For a minimally invasive procedure for injuries/conditions that are notoriously hard to heal, that's pretty impressive. Technique and ultrasound guidance is essential to the accuracy of placement and enhancing the efficacy of the injection.

What if I don’t get a good enough response with PRP treatment?
Then bone marrow-derived cellular therapy, Regenexx SD, or surgical treatment might be the next step.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.