Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a treatment for patients who suffer from chronic pain due to tendon injuries or osteoarthritis. The goal of PRP is to use platelets from your own blood to rebuild damaged tendons or cartilage. PRP offers pain relief and even speeds the healing process. Fletcher Allen Health Care is the only academic medical center in Vermont to offer PRP treatment. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy in Burlington, VT

Athletes and other active individuals turn to the sports medicine specialists at Fletcher Allen for expert, personalized care for joint and muscle problems. We are one of the only centers in the region to offer PRP, a nonsurgical procedure to treat chronic joint-pain. Features of our care include:

Experience and Expertise
Our team includes board-certified orthopedists and sports medicine physicians. In addition, we have skilled phlebotomists (medical professionals who specialize in collecting blood samples). We work together to ensure your PRP procedure is smooth, safe and effective.

Personalized Care
Before your procedure, we meet with you for an evaluation. During your appointment, we discuss your symptoms and previous treatments. We confirm your diagnosis so we can make sure this treatment will give you optimal results.

On-Site Rehab Services
We provide everything you need right here at our facility. After your procedure, Fletcher Allen physical therapy and rehabilitation teams will help you regain your strength and function.

Follow-up Care
Your care doesn’t end when the procedure is over. After your PRP treatment, we monitor you closely during the next few months. Together, we determine if the treatment was effective or if you need a second procedure.

PRP: Am I a Candidate?

You may be wondering if you are a candidate for PRP therapy. When you come to meet with our team for an evaluation, we can determine if PRP therapy is right for you. 

You may be a candidate for PRP if:

  • You have a type of tendinopathy, which are degenerative changes or small tears in the tendons, the tough fibers connecting muscle to bone. Repetitive activities can often cause tendinopathy:
    • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylosis), degenerative changes in the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow. 
    • Medial elbow (medial epicondylosis), degenerative changes to tendons on the inside of the elbow.
    • Jumper’s knee (patellar tendinosis), an injury that affects the tendon connecting your kneecap to your shinbone. It is common in athletes who participate in jumping sports, like basketball.
    • Achilles tendinosis, degenerative changes of the Achilles tendon (the largest tendon in the body), which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. 
    • Gluteus medius tendinosis, degenerative changes of the tendons in the gluteus medius. This is one of the three large muscles connecting your gluteal (buttock) muscles to your hipbone. 
    • Rotator cuff tendinosis, degenerative change to a group of shoulder tendons.
  • Your problem is chronic. PRP is not an emergency treatment for sudden pain. Candidates for PRP usually have had ongoing, chronic pain for at least three months.
  • You’ve tried other treatments without success. If you are experiencing joint pain, you should try other treatment options for at least three months. These include physical therapy, hand therapy, forearm straps and bracing. 
  • You haven’t had a recent cortisone injection. If you were using cortisone injections as a treatment, your last one must be at least three months before your PRP procedure. 

PRP: What to Expect

Generally, you undergo a single PRP procedure. After three months, we evaluate you to decide whether you need a second procedure. If there has been no significant response or improvement after the first treatment, you may need to undergo PRP again.

Here’s what to expect during the procedure:

  1. Our experienced phlebotomists draw your blood
  2. We place the blood in a centrifuge, a specialized machine that separates parts of the blood.
  3. The centrifuge separates the platelets. 
  4. We then inject the platelet-rich plasma into the damaged part of your tendon or cartilage. We use ultrasound technology to guide the injection to the precise location.
  5. You follow a rehabilitation program, usually involving a period of rest and physical therapy.
  6. After three months, we evaluate you to determine if the procedure worked or if you need another treatment. 

Recovery and Rehabilitation after PRP

Fletcher Allen offers on-site physical therapy and hand therapy. Talk to your physician about scheduling your rehabilitative care with our expert team. Our physicians and therapists work closely with you to create a rehab plan that fits your needs. Learn more about outpatient therapy at Fletcher Allen.

Contact Us

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call us at 802-847-6000, Option 4.