Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP, is blood plasma with concentrated platelets. The concentrated platelets found in PRP contain huge reservoirs bioactive proteins, including growth factors that are vital to initiate and accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. These bioactive proteins initiate connective tissue healing, bone regeneration and repair, promote development of new blood vessels, and stimulate the wound healing process.

What are tendons and ligaments?

Tendons connect the muscle to the bone making it possible for you to do many every day physical activities. Overuse or damage to the tendon causes the collagen fibers in the tendons to form small tears, a condition called tendonitis. Damage to tendons most often occur in the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, bicep, calf and Achilles tendon.

Ligaments are composed of collagen fibers that hold one bone to another, stabilizing the joint and controlling the range of motion. When a ligament is damaged it is not longer able to provide support, weakening the joints. Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply and combined with the stress of day-to-day activities, they do not easily heal from damage. As a result of this the tendons and ligaments become inefficient causing chronic pain and weakness. Medical intervention may be necessary.

How does PRP Therapy work?

To prepare PRP, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a Harvest SmartPRep machine. The machine spins and automatically produces the PRP. The entire process takes 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500%.

When PRP is injected into the damaged area it stimulates the tendon or ligament causing an inflammation that triggers the healing cascade. As a result, new collagen begins to develop. As this collagen matures, it begins to shrink causing the tightening and strengthening of the tendons or ligaments of the damaged area.

I’ve heard of cortisone shots; is this the same?

Studies have shown that cortisone injections may actually weaken tissue. Cortisone shots may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, but may not provide long term healing. PRP therapy is healing and strengthening these tendons and ligaments resulting in stronger and thicker ones, up to 40% in some cases.

What are the potential benefits?

Patients can see a significant improvement in symptoms. This may eliminate the need for more conservative treatments such as medication or surgery as well as a remarkable return of function.

What can be treated?

PRP injections can be performed in tendons and ligaments all over the body. Sports injuries, arthritic joints, lower back, degenerative disc disease and more specific injuries including tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL tears, shin splints, rotator cuff tears, plantar fascitis and iliotibial band syndrome may all be effectively treated with PRP.

How many treatments and how often is the therapy?

While responses to treatment vary, most people will require 3-6 sets of injections. EACH set of treatments are spaced approximately 4-6 weeks apart. There is no limit to the number of treatments you can have; The risks and side effects do not change with the number of treatments.

Is PRP right for me?

If you have a tendon or ligament injury and traditional methods have no provided relief, the PRP therapy may be the solution. The procedure is less aggressive than surgery, and less expensive. It will heal the tissue with minimal or no scarring and alleviates further degeneration of tissues. There will be an initial evaluation with your doctor to see if PRP therpay is right for you.

Are there any special instructions?

You are restricted from the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) one week prior to the procedure and throughout the course of treatments.

Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Most patients only need some extra-strength Tylenol to help with the pain. Also, ice and heat should be applied to the area as needed.

The first week after the procedure, patients will typically start a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. However, aggressive physical activity is discouraged.

How soon can I go back to regular physical activities?

PRP therapy helps regenerate tendons and ligaments, but it is not a quick fix. This therapy is stimulating the growth and repair of tendons and ligaments requiring time and rehabilitation. Though regular visits, your doctor will determine when you are able to resume regular physical activities.


Before PRP Treatment:

  • Your initial visit to the clinic will consist of a full physical assessment based on injury or physical complaint which may include x-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, blood work, Range of motion measurements, and MRI if needed.
  • If taking NSAID’s (anti-inflammatory medication i.e. Motrin, Naprosyn, Advil, Aleve), please discontinue 5-7 days prior to treatment.
  • If taking an 81 mg aspirin, continue.
  • Follow your normal daily routine on procedure day; make sure to drink plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shorts if possible for treatment of knee injuries.
  • The procedure takes approximately 1 hour.
  • Upon arrival, your blood will be drawn and you will be prepped for the procedure.
  • The blood will be spun in a special centrifuge, which takes about 15 minutes.
  • Ultrasound will be used to guide the doctor to the area that will be treated.
  • The area will be numbed with local anesthesia.


After PRP Treatment:

  • You will be numb in the area treated for up to 4 hours after the procedure.
  • Due to the numbness, we ask that you refrain from strenuous activities for 4-6 hours, but stay mobile. Continue to move affected area to decrease stiffness and soreness.
  • After the aneshesia wears off, you may resume activities to tolerance of pain.
  • You may experience an increase in pain and soreness after the numbing wears off for 2-5 days after your treatment. The initial inflammatory phase lasts 7 days and the secondary phase can last up to 14 days.
  • After the initial pain of 2-3 days, you should start feeling some relief.
  • DO NOT take any anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, or Naprosyn) during your therapy session.
  • May take Tylenol and pain medication as prescribed.
  • Ice for 10 minutes every 2 hours as needed for pain and swelling with a barrier between the skin and ice. Numb is too cold!
  • If dressing or ace wrap is applied after your procedure, you will need to keep that on for 24 hours, then you may remove and just cover the site with a band-aid if needed.
  • Contact us if you have any symptoms that concern you, such as redness, swelling, or warmness to the touch of injection site.
  • You should schedule your follow-up appointment in 5-6 weeks unless the doctor states differently.
  • You may experience the “roller coaster” syndrome where you feel great one day and for no apparent reason, the treated area starts to hurt again. This is normal in the healing process.
  • The platelets are active for several weeks and it can take up to 6 months for normal collagen to form and heal completely.
  • Our goal is 80-90% improvement in pain, so you may not need more than one treatment to reach the goal. Sometimes a series of 2-3 treatments are needed to achieve complete healing. If subsequent treatments are needed, they are usually performed 4-6 weeks apart.
  • Contact Us:

    Trinity Sports Medicine
    & Performance Center

    3151 Johnson Rd, Suite 2
    Steubenville, OH 43952

    Dr. Scarpone: 740-266-3866
    Physical Therapy: 740-266-3872

    Got a question: Contact Us
  • Social Media

    For the latest info, follow us!
  • Testimonials:

    Why Choose Scarpone?
    View our Testimonials.