If you have made the decision to undergo platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, it’s important to know that there are specific things you’ll need to do after the session is over. In other words, you will be able to return home or possibly work when the PRP outpatient treatment is complete. It only takes less than 90 minutes in most cases. However, the doctor will advise you to follow some simple but important guidelines in order to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment and to minimize your total recovery time.
One thing prospective PRP candidates forget is that there are also some essential pre-treatment guidelines to follow, as well as some things to know and be prepared for during the procedure. It’s not enough to simply follow the post-treatment rules. You need to think of PRP therapy as something for which you must prepare, take part in and follow up on. That means paying close attention to the full series of guidelines for what to do beforehand, during and after a PRP treatment session.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, it’s important for patients to follow some general rules to prepare for their PRP session. These suggestions will make your treatment go smoothly and will increase the chances that PRP therapy brings a good result:
- Don’t take any ibuprofen or aspirin, or any NSAIDs for at least one full week before you arrive for your PRP therapy
- For at least five full days before PRP treatment, don’t take any anti-coagulant medication
- On the day before, drink approximately eight, 8-ounce servings of water
- Know that you can ask for anti-anxiety meds before the procedure begins, even though most people do not feel the need to do so
- For about three weeks beforehand, don’t take any corticosteroid meds at all
During the Session
Different clinics have varying procedures, but the following routine is standard for most PRP providers:
- Arrive about 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to take care of restroom visits and to relax before the procedure begins.
- Follow all instructions that the staff gives you as you prepare for the blood draw.
- If you have any questions, feel free to ask someone on the staff.
- Remain in the clinic area until the entire procedure is completed.
- If you need a drink of water after the treatment begins, ask someone to bring you a cup to drink from.
- Remain seated unless you are instructed to stand or move somewhere else.
- At the end of the blood draw, you’ll have to wait for a while during the centrifuge phase and while the doctor prepares the PRP solution for injection.
- After the injections are complete, you’ll sit and rest for a while
- The doctor and other staff members will discuss your post-treatment guidelines with you
- Be sure to ask questions if you don’t understand something. This is preferable to having to call the clinic later and ask a question
- Make an appointment for your next session, is one is required and note that you’ll have a different set of guidelines for your next pre-treatment phase
- If you feel too weak to stand up or walk, remain seated in the clinic and let someone know that you might need to call for a ride home
What To Expect After PRP Treatment
Once you’ve made it to the end of the PRP therapy session, it’s time to relax and take it easy for a few days. If you have a non-strenuous job, the doctor might allow you to go back to work. But for the most part, you’ll be following a written set of guidelines that the staff will give you before you return home.
The detailed list is below, but note that there are some common themes that run through the guidelines, like no alcohol, cigarettes or vigorous exercise for three days. That’s an important point because any of those things can undo a lot of the good that the therapy has created.
Don’t waste your and your doctor’s efforts by neglecting the guidelines listed below. It’s also a good idea to read over them a few times. You don’t have to memorize them, but it’s helpful to become very familiar with the key points so you don’t inadvertently run afoul of the pointers.
PRP can be a powerfully effective medical treatment for a wide variety of conditions as long as you do your part to make the process a success. Your doctor and the technicians can only do so much, but they can’t follow you around for the next three weeks and supervise your every move. That’s your job, and it’s an important one. So, follow the suggestions on the list below and your PRP treatment will have a much better chance of being 100 percent effective:
- For at least eight hours after treatment, don’t rub, massage, touch or otherwise manipulate the general area where you received injections.
- Don’t take any medications except those that you discussed with your PRP doctor for one week prior to or after treatment. This includes common things like daily vitamins, fish oil tablets, herbs of all kinds, flax oil, garlic in any form, Aleve, Ibuprofen, aspirin, or any supplements like CBD oil and related substances
- In most cases, it’s okay to take Tylenol if you have pain, but it’s best to discuss this topic in detail with your doctor and attending staff before leaving the PRP treatment site
- Try to avoid applying ice to the treated area for three days after the treatment takes place
- Watch out for major temperature changes in your body. Avoid extreme heat or cold, and avoid drinking large amounts of liquids that are either very cold or very hot. Avoid showers and baths that are either very hot or very cold
- After three days have passed and if you decide to put ice on the treated area, remember to never apply raw or bare ice. Rather, use ice cubes or containers that have been wrapped in cloth
- For about eight hours immediately after the treatment, do not take a shower or bath or go swimming
- For six hours after the PRP treatment, don’t use any kinds of body creams, wear or apply make-up, or use lotions of any kind on your skin
- Don’t do any strenuous exercise or jogging of any kind for at least three full days after the treatment
- Don’t smoke or use alcohol for three days after your PRP treatment. In fact, if you are a smoker, note that the PRP results might not be as obvious or effective as for non-smokers. Also, if you smoke, the healing process will take longer than normal
- Try to consume about 64 ounces of water each day on the day of the PRP treatment and for about one full week afterward
- Don’t be surprised is you notice soreness, swelling, redness, aches, bruising or other discomforts near the site of the injections. This situation can continue to exist for up to 10 days after the treatment
The above guidelines are general. You should always follow what your own doctor’s office tells you to do before, during and after a PRP treatment. The more you adhere to their suggestions, the quicker you’ll heal.