​What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy utilizes injections of a patient’s own platelets (cell fragments found within the blood) to improve the function of tissues. It can accelerate the healing and regeneration of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. The therapy works by using each individual patient's own blood (platelet growth factors) to heal and improve musculoskeletal symptoms.

Other names for some of this procedure includes platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), platelet-rich growth factors (GFs), autologous concentrated platelets and platelet concentrates (PCs).

​What can PRP treat?

PRP is usually given to help repair and heal injuries.  Platelets help out blood to clot when there is an injury. The growth factors and cytokines within platelets can help repair injuries and encourage healing,

PRP can be useful for

  • Osteoarthritis (low- to moderate-grade knee osteoarthritis)
  • Acute injuries
  • Chronic tendon Injuries (Tennis elbow, Jumper’s knee)
  • Post-Surgical Repair.
  • Sports injuries including muscle and joint Injuries 
  • Torn tendons and tendinitis
  • Ligament damage
  • Arthritis-related pain.

The procedure is suitable for adults whose daily lives are affected by osteoarthritis or tendinitis, in particular those who have not benefitted from physical therapy, those don't want to opt for steroid injections, or for whom that treatment hasn't worked. It is also suitable for young adults who have suffered sporting injuries.

What happens the day before the procedure?

It is important to inform your doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have anemia or any other blood disorder.
  • You are taking any blood thinner (aspirin, warfarin, apixaban, heparin, etc.). Your doctor might ask you to stop taking these medications before the procedure.
  • You nursing or may be pregnant.
  • You have an active infection or immunosuppression.
  • You have uncontrolled diabetes or blood pressure.

What happens during the procedure

On the day of the procedure, do not take any pain medication four hours before the scheduled procedure time. You must fast for at least 6 hours before the procedure. If you are allowed to continue with your regular medications, take them with sips of water only.  You must bring a responsible adult with you to drive you home after the procedure (if not present, the procedure will be cancelled).  Please bring your insurance card and Emirates ID with you.

If you are Diabetic:

  • Check your blood glucose level in the morning before coming to the procedure appointment. If it is less than 70 mg/dl (3.8 mmol/l), drink half a cup of apple juice or take four glucose tablets.

  • Do not take your diabetic tablets.
  • If you are on long-acting insulin (Lantus, Levemir or NPH) take half your usual dose.
  • If you are on Mixed insulin (70/30 or 75/25) and your morning glucose level is more than 200 mg/dl (11 mmol/l) take half your usual dose. If your morning blood sugar is less than 200 mg/dl (11 mmol/l) do not take your insulin. Your blood glucose levels will be rechecked at the hospital. ​

After you have checked in for your appointment, you will be escorted by a nurse who will review your medical history, medication and obtain pre-procedure vital signs. 

Your doctor may suggest sedation via an intravenous (IV) line, which will keep you comfortable and safe during your procedure.

What happens during the procedure? 

Blood is first removed from the patient and processed in a machine that separates its components. The platelets are separated into blood plasma and other white and red blood cells are removed, resulting in platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The processing takes around 30-45 minutes.

PRP is then injected into the affected area under the guidance of ultrasound. You will be positioned appropriately depending on the injection site and the area is first cleansed with an antiseptic solution and will be numbed using a local anesthesia. A nurse will monitor your vital signs during the procedure.

The total procedure time might vary between 60-90 minutes. Most patients usually require 1 - 3 sessions for treatment efficiency.

What happens after the procedure?

Once the procedure is complete, a plaster will be placed over the injection site, and you will be transferred to the recovery room for observation where a nurse will monitor your vital signs. The length of stay in the recovery room may vary. 

You may be sore at the injection site and there may be some temporary numbness at the site of procedure.

Most patients can go home the same day. 

IMPORTANT: Once you have been discharged, you will receive your discharge instructions and an adult must be available to accompany you home.

What are the benefits of PRP?

PRP therapy provides relief to those who are suffering from trauma and sports-related injuries that affect the joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues of the body. As muscle injuries cause tissue to tear, and ligament injuries take time and are difficult to heal, PRP offers an effective option for athletes in their healing process as it aims to restore the functionality and mobility of the injured joint or muscle.

Patients with osteoarthritic knee pain benefit from PRP therapy as it helps to restore hyaluronic acid concentration in the knees due to synovial fibroblast and hepatocyte growth factors in the platelet substance. This can reverse joint damage and eliminate disease progression.

PRP therapy can also help chronic back pain, which is very difficult to treat, by improving structural elements such as ligaments, discs, and joints.

As PRP therapy is an advanced technique, it provides a fast, safe and effective healing process that also effectively reduces inflammation and swelling. 

As it is a simple and minimally invasive intervention, it can & may reduce the need for surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi at 800 8 CCAD (2223), and request an appointment with one of our physicians at Interventional Pain Management Center.​​

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