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How does plasma treatment work?

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You can get plasma exchange in the hospital or at an outpatient center. The process isn't painful, and you won't need anesthesia.

You'll lie in bed or sit in a reclining chair.

A nurse or a specialist will put a needle attached to a thin tube, called a catheter, into a vein in each arm. If your arm veins are too small, you may have to have a needle in your shoulder or groin instead.

Your blood comes out through one of the tubes and goes into a machine that separates your plasma from your blood cells. Then, your blood cells get mixed with fresh plasma, and the new blood mixture goes back into your body through the other tube.

SOURCES:

Neurology: "Assessment of Plasmapheresis," September 1996.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Plasmapheresis;" "Medications: Managing Relapse;" and "Relapsing-remitting MS."

Cortese, V. , Jan 18, 2011. Neurology

Szczepiorkowski, Z. , 2010. Journal of Clinical Aphoresis

Moses Rodriguez, MD, professor of neurology and immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis: "Mellen Center Approaches: Plasmapheresis in MS."

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Plasmapheresis."

Raphael, J.C. Cochrane Database Systematic Review: "Plasma exchange for Guillain-Barré syndrome," July 11, 2012.

American Academy of Neurology: "Plasmapheresis."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 30, 2019

SOURCES:

Neurology: "Assessment of Plasmapheresis," September 1996.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Plasmapheresis;" "Medications: Managing Relapse;" and "Relapsing-remitting MS."

Cortese, V. , Jan 18, 2011. Neurology

Szczepiorkowski, Z. , 2010. Journal of Clinical Aphoresis

Moses Rodriguez, MD, professor of neurology and immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis: "Mellen Center Approaches: Plasmapheresis in MS."

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Plasmapheresis."

Raphael, J.C. Cochrane Database Systematic Review: "Plasma exchange for Guillain-Barré syndrome," July 11, 2012.

American Academy of Neurology: "Plasmapheresis."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 30, 2019

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How long does plasma treatment last for?

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