More people are getting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for a variety of reasons, including facial aesthetics, joint pain, and more. But even with the procedure’s popularity, there are still a few misconceptions about how to prepare for a PRP injection.
So what are the things you should avoid before undergoing a session of PRP therapy? You should notify your doctor if you’re taking any medications that can interfere with PRP. Using hair products like hair spray or hair gel may affect the efficacy of the procedure, so make sure to avoid using what your provider tells you.
Things to Avoid Before a PRP Injection
Similar to stem cell therapy and other non-invasive treatments, PRP injection is generally safe. But do note that there are some preparations you need to make beforehand. These include avoiding exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the effectiveness of PRP treatment. Remember that if you have underlying conditions, you should tell your doctor before proceeding with treatment.
1. Steroid Medications
Some steroid medications, like prednisone and hydrocortisone, may interact with platelet-rich plasma. If you have eczema, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or other conditions that use these steroids for management, tell your doctor right away. A consultation will determine if you can undergo PRP treatment. After injection, patients are advised to avoid systemic steroids for at least 2 weeks.
2. Blood Thinners
Those with cardiovascular illnesses may be taking anticoagulants or antiplatelets for the management of their disease. These drugs help regulate blood circulation by preventing blood clots from forming. Anticoagulants inhibit certain proteins, while antiplatelets interfere with platelet production. Common blood thinners include Heparin and Plavix.
These medications shouldn’t be taken at least 7 days before receiving a PRP injection. The presence of blood thinners may interfere with the number of platelets available during the session. As with systemic steroids, make sure you consult your doctor before stopping your intake. Your primary care provider should be aware of your intent to undergo PRP treatment.
3. NSAID Painkillers
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, are commonly used as painkillers. While these may help you feel better after a muscle strain, they interfere with the body’s inflammatory mechanisms. The effectiveness of PRP also relies on the inflammatory response, so potential PRP patients should stop NSAIDs a week before the scheduled treatment.
4. Hair Gel and Hairspray
While hair gel and hairspray are effective styling products, they may exacerbate side effects after your PRP injection. Those receiving PRP in the scalp area may feel a burning or itching sensation if they apply topical hair products before or after the procedure.
How to Prepare for a PRP Injection
A PRP operation is generally painless. Effects usually manifest within a couple of weeks to months, but unhealthy lifestyle habits may interfere with the effectiveness of the procedure. To ensure the patient’s full health before the scheduled operation, doctors recommend making a few tweaks to your routines at least a week before.
1. Increase Water Intake
Water is one of the easiest ways to flush out toxins and harmful substances from the body. Drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses or 2 liters daily is recommended for adult patients. Staying hydrated also encourages tissue growth and repair. Other liquids like tea and coffee don’t count toward the recommended daily intake.
2. Eat Healthy
Maintaining a healthy diet will do wonders for your plasma and red blood cells. A low-fat and low-sodium diet can help with hormone regulation and tissue regeneration. Making sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and lean meat can help the body maximize the benefits of PRP injections. The following food items are recommended:
- Beef liver
- Kidney beans
3. Use Shampoo on Your Hair
If you’re receiving platelet-rich plasma for the hair, wash your hair with your preferred shampoo a day before the procedure. The shampoo you most use is recommended since it lessens the chance of developing an allergic reaction right before the PRP hair treatment. You must also refrain from using a conditioner, hairspray, and other hair care products, as these can make the procedure more painful for you.
What to Do After a PRP Injection
After receiving a PRP injection, patients should take time to rest. While the recovery time for PRP is relatively shorter than other procedures, it also helps to adopt healthy habits to reduce the feeling of side effects. These activities will also help stimulate proper blood flow around the body. Talk to your doctor if you experience fever or other signs of infection after the procedure.
1. Keep Physical Activity Light
Around 3 to 10 days after the procedure, you can start resuming daily activities. These include light exercises, such as walking, yoga, and stretching. Regular exercise helps maintain your immune system and blood circulation, which goes well with your PRP therapy.
If you’re an athlete recovering from a knee, tendon, or ligament injury, you can also consult a sports medicine specialist about a recovery-based routine. Physical therapy can help you return to your usual activities without overexertion.
2. Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine
Alcohol and nicotine are substances that can interfere with your treatment’s effects. Cigarettes can reduce the amount of PRP in the body, and the nicotine content can interfere with the body’s ability to repair damaged tissue. Drinking alcohol may also reduce stem cells and disrupt the healing process.
3. Refrain from Applying Makeup
If you’re receiving PRP treatment on the face, avoid applying makeup and cosmetic products. These may irritate the skin and cause further redness and swelling. You can return to your usual beauty routines around 4 to 5 days after the injection, provided that you don’t have signs of skin irritation.
4. Don’t Ice the Area
For the first 3 days after the injection, avoid applying ice to the treatment area. Doing so may interfere with the inflammation response, which is crucial for the effectiveness of PRP. After at least 72 hours, you can apply a cold compress to the injection site to help ease bruising.
5. Get Adequate Rest
Rest is one of the most important components of the recovery period. In the first 48 hours after treatment, the patient should limit movement near the injection site. Mild to moderate pain around the area is normal and resolves within the first week of treatment. To help with discomfort, patients can take a dose of Tylenol. Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen, as these can negatively interact with the PRP.
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Platelet-rich plasma injections are popular procedures to stimulate hair growth, help with joint issues, or improve facial appearance. It helps to know exactly what steps should be taken to ensure the effectiveness of the procedure. At the same time, using the best quality hair and medical products will also benefit your overall health and wellbeing.
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