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What Are the Side-Effects of Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?

June 6, 2011

Let’s make this clear right now: platelet-rich plasma therapy is not blood doping.

In fact, PRP therapy, as it’s commonly called, is actually a safe and legal method to increase therecovery time from your sports injury.

What does that mean to you, the athlete who’s injured? It means you can return to a superior performing condition a lot faster than you could if you opted to have the injured area operated on.

In fact, PRP therapy is quickly becoming the gold standard for treating tendinitis, whether in the knee, shoulder or elbow.

But you have to understand this: PRP therapy is not a silver bullet. There can be side effects, and some significant. Here are the most common.

Pain in the Injured Area

Some people who’ve undergone PRP therapy complain about an acute ache or soreness in the spot of the injection. Sometimes this pain is even felt deep inside the area, whether in the muscle or bone.


While a tremendous amount of precaution is taken when injecting a patient with a PRP serum–intense sterilization procedures are, in fact, followed closely for each treatment–sometimes an infection can break out in the injured area.

No Improvement in Injured Area

While this is not necessarily a side-effect, we still need to mention that not all athletes respond to a PRP injection. (Of course, this particular type of sports medicine is undergoing more studies so we can understand exactly why.) Sometimes the original pain and soreness of the injury remains (it may even get worse), even after an extended rest period after the PRP therapy.

Allergic Reaction

Some patients body will reject their own serum and react negatively to the treatment. This is rare, but it does happen. Again, more studies need to be done to understand why.

Blood Clot

Normally, a blood clot forms when there is damage to the lining of a blood vessel, like with a cut. Because a PRP injection uses a needle (guided by a sonogram) there is a chance that a artery or vein could be damaged. If that happens a blood clot occurs and is treated like any normal clot.

Skin Discoloration

Sometimes the color around the skin of a PRP injection will appear bruised. This could be normal, based upon your history of bruising. But if it’s an unusual deep and dark bruise, or you simply don’t bruise easily, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

In fact, if you experience any of the above side effects after a PRP injection contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Want to know more about the benefits of PRP therapy and how they can heal your sports injury? Either give us a call or visit our office in St. Louis. We look forward to hearing from you.


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