How much do PRP injections and stem cell therapy cost in the United States? According to this paper published in early 2020, the mean cost of a PRP injection was $707 while the mean cost of a stem cell injection was $2728. I’m going to review the variables that affect cost of treatment, but if you’re just thinking about price, you may be looking at the wrong thing. The more important takeaway from this video is how to pick a provider who will deliver you the best outcomes regardless of the price.
There is significant variability in the cost of platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections. And that’s why this study tried to assess the cost of these treatments across the United States. They called about 1300 orthopedic sports medicine practices to gather information and assess factors that may influence pricing.
They found that the mean cost of platelet rich plasma was $707 with a rather large standard deviation of $388. The median cost of PRP was $630. With regards to stem cells, the mean was $2728 with a standard deviation of $1584. The median for stem cells was $2500.
Now what factors affected prices? The authors found that injections were more expensive in areas that had a higher median household income. Injections were also more expensive in cities that had larger population sizes. The west had the highest cost of PRP injections with a mean of $778 per injection. This was followed by the Northeast at $733, the midwest at $703, and the lowest cost for PRP was in the South at $654 per injection.
Stem cells also had a geographic difference with the west again being the highest at $3102 per injection, followed by the midwest at $3008, then the northeast at $2736, and then the south with the lowest at $2462. Academic institutions also had slightly higher prices when compared to private practices.
Now it’s important to point out that this survey was done by sampling orthopedic sports medicine practices. This does not include other offices that market themselves as “stem cell clinics” or “regenerative medicine clinics”. Many of these clinics are run by chiropractors, nurse practitioners, or other types of healthcare providers. And unfortunately, clinics like these have proliferated over the last few years and there really is no quality control over these providers.
So while price is an important factor when considering platelet rich plasma or stem cell injections, in my opinion, who administers the injections is even more important. You want someone who knows how to perform ultrasound guided injections. I’ve talked previously before comparing the differences between ultrasound guided and landmark based injections. You can see the comparisons here.
Ultrasound guided injections are between 90 and 100% accurate for every body part. Landmark based accuracy ranges in the mid teens to the mid seventies for most indications. That’s pretty bad if you’re paying out of pocket for a treatment. In my opinion, ultrasound guided injections should really be standard of care but unfortunately that is not the current reality. So until that happens, you don’t want to pay money for a procedure only for your healthcare provider to do a landmark based injection and administer your cells in the incorrect position.
All of this affects outcomes as was shown in this study. People receiving ultrasound guided injections had much better results and were found to be significantly less likely to undergo subsequent knee replacement surgery when compared to patients getting landmark based injections.
Now in addition to injection technique, you also want someone who is staying up to date with the latest clinical trials in orthobiologics and cellular therapy. The field is moving fast and protocols are always changing. For example, there is now a big shift towards using kits that can process at least 50 or 60 ccs of blood. Inferior kits only process 10 cc of blood yet many orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors still use these inferior products and charge the same price.
This is why when you are searching for a provider to help you administer PRP injections, you are almost certainly better off discussing your options with a sports medicine physician who has the expertise to administer injections with ultrasound guidance and who is also keeping up with the medical literature.