Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Procedure

Platelet-rich plasma injections are outpatient procedures. Because the patient's blood must be drawn and prepared for injection, a typical procedure may take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.

Whether the patient has a one-time injection or a series of injections spaced over weeks or months is up to the individual patient and doctor. If a series of injections is planned, a doctor may recommend a single blood draw during the first visit and use fresh PRP in the first injection and freezing and thaw the remaining PRP as needed for future injections. However, some experts believe freezing and thawing PRP negatively affects its usefulness and prefer to do a separate blood draw for each PRP injection.1

An experienced physician should perform the injections. The use of imaging technology (e.g., ultrasound guidance) ensures a precise injection.

Precision is important because, like viscosupplementation treatments, platelet-rich plasma injections must be made directly into the joint capsule.


The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends patients adhere to the following pre-injection guidelines:

Although the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons published these pre-injection guidelines, the organization does not advocate for or against platelet-rich plasma treatment for osteoarthritis.2

See Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

This is an in-office procedure that involves a blood draw, preparation of the PRP, and the injection:

The platelet-rich plasma typically stimulates a series of biological responses, and the injection site may be swollen and painful for about 3 days.


Patients are advised to take it easy for a few days and avoid putting strain on the affected joint.

Doctors may require or suggest that a patient:

Patients who do not have physically demanding jobs can usually go back to work the next day. Patients can resume normal activities when swelling and pain decrease, typically a few days after the injections. Patients should not begin taking anti-inflammatory medications until approved by the doctor.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Procedure

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