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Plasma injection (platelet-rich plasma, PRP)
Curative power of your own blood
Human blood contains a lot of substances that the body needs for healing, nourishment, and breathing. We take advantage of this in the treatment with the so-called platelet-rich plasma ("PRP"). Substances such as growth factors are extracted from the patient's blood and concentrated in the serum. This concentrate is then injected into the seat of the disease, either undiluted or mixed with hyaluronic acid.
Until 2010, the method was prohibited in professional sports as doping. Meanwhile, things have calmed down, and it is now widely used in sports and sports orthopaedics.
Which diseases can be treated using this method?
Excellent results have been achieved in many orthopaedic injuries caused by sports, such as: Muscle fibre rupture
- Ligament strain or tear
- Cartilage damage, for example in the knee, elbow, shoulder, wrist, ankle, or hip
- Tendon tear
- Meniscus tear
And in inflammation that is not caused by bacterial infections, such as:
- So-called tennis elbow or golfer's elbow, both of which are often seen in craftsmen due to chronic excess load
- Rotator cuff syndrome of the shoulders and calcific tendinitis
- Iliotibial band syndrome in athletes and recreational athletes
- Patellar tendinitis
- Achilles tendon disorders, the so-called "achillodynia"
- "Plantar fasciitis" of the bottom of the heel, with or without heel spurs
How long does the treatment take?
In most cases, one injection is sufficient. Second appointment is necessary in case of advanced damage. A session typically lasts 15 minutes. There is also additional individual waiting time following the injection.
What happens during the treatment?
First, a thin cannula (butterfly) is used to draw just under 10 mL of blood. This blood sample is processed within 6 minutes in a closed system to protect it from contamination. The sample is then injected into the seat of the disease using an ultra-thin needle, under strict infection control measures. The serum is then evenly distributed. The patient can usually leave the surgery shortly thereafter.
When can I expect an improvement?
The effect is a bit delayed, but often takes effect already in the first 48 hours. The healing processes take place more slowly, and a final result can only be expected 4-8 weeks later.
Just how precisely can you target the seat of the disease?
Most of the affected regions are located superficially, and can be easily felt with the finger. For deep or complex injections, we use the latest generation of ultrasound or X-Ray radiography to ensure precision. Injections can thus be delivered to the tissue with an accuracy of a few millimetres, so that the seat of the disease can be hit with precision and the surrounding tissue is spared.
Is the therapy associated with any risks or side effects?
The therapy is very well tolerated thanks to the use of patient's own blood. There may be occasional irritation if hyaluronic acid is also used. Bacterial infections may occur whenever the skin is injured, including during injections. The risk of a joint infection is typically 1:30,000. Nevertheless, adverse side effects or complications are always a possibility. You will receive detailed information about them prior to the treatment. For example, a bruise or pain reaction in the evening is possible.
What does the therapy cost, and who pays for it?
The costs are covered by most private health insurance funds. The workers’ compensation board will reimburse some costs upon application. The costs are generally not covered by the statutory health insurance. The patient will be issued a private invoice according to the cost estimate, and will be required to settle the invoice himself/herself. The good news for patients is, these costs are usually tax-deductible. An injection costs typically between € 110 and € 280, depending on the disease.