Platelets are the part of the blood that allows the body to clot and initiate a healing response. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, which is produced by spinning blood in a centrifuge so it separates, is gaining popularity and being used to treat a variety of conditions, from knee arthritis to sports injuries and even hair loss. The treatment uses a patient’s own blood cells to accelerate or “boost” healing in a specific area.
PRP is a mix of concentrated platelets and plasma. These tiny blood components are rich in growth factors and help form a blood clot during injury. When you injure an area like a ligament or a muscle, they seep into the wound during the bleeding that normally occurs. They then set up a blood clot to stop the bleeding and after a short period of time they release growth factors to coordinate a healing response. Over the first week or so, they act as a time release “pill” that secretes various growth factors at various times. These time released growth factors do things like bring in stem cells and new blood vessels to ensure that the body can get more blood to the area. Platelets act like fertilizer by revving up the healing response. Platelet-rich plasma is simply blood that contains a higher concentration of platelets than normal.
Platelet rich plasma is obtained by taking a blood sample from you and separating the plasma from the whole blood. The blood is processed in a centrifuge. A device that rapidly spins the sample, separating out the other components of the blood from the platelets and concentrating them within the plasma. Depending on the protocol used to prepare PRP, there are multiple different products that can result from putting blood in a centrifuge. Concentration, product and quality varies from process to process and ultimately from clinic to clinic. Making it imperative that you do your due diligence when choosing a provider. https://www.regenmedpc.com/post/choosing-a-regenerative-medicine-clinic
After creating PRP from a patient’s blood sample, that solution is injected into the target area, such as an injured joint or tendon. In all cases, the doctor should use guidance in the form of ultrasound or fluoroscopy to guide the injection. The goal is to increase the concentration of growth factors in the injured area to initiate and accelerate the healing process. Studies have shown that increasing the concentration of growth factors in PRP stimulates and/or speeds up the healing process, shortening the healing time and decreasing pain.
Because PRP injections are made up of your own cells and plasma, the risk of an allergic reaction is much lower than with other injectable medications like corticosteroids. However, as with any type of injection, there is always a small risk of bleeding, pain or infection. The most common side effect is pain at the injection site for 24 to 48 hours after the injection.
HOW IS IT USED?
PRP injections are used for a range of conditions, from musculoskeletal pain and injury to cosmetic procedures. The goal of treatment is to heal and repair injured tissue. Studies have indicated that PRP is useful in treating tendon, ligament, muscle and joint injuries. Examples include chronic tendon injuries such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff impingement or jumper’s knee. Adding PRP to a treatment regimen can help to stimulate the healing process, decrease pain and enable a return to activities sooner.
Post-surgical healing - Clinicians first used PRP to accelerate healing after jaw or plastic surgeries. Now, post-surgical PRP injections have expanded to help heal muscles, tendons and ligaments, as procedures on these tissues have notoriously long recovery times.
Osteoarthritis - Early studies indicate that PRP injections may help treat osteoarthritis pain and stiffness by modulating the joint environment and reducing inflammation.
Tendinopathy - Promotes repair of damaged tendons. Stimulates the healing process, decreases pain and enables a return to activities sooner.
Wondering if you’re a candidate for PRP injections? To find out more, schedule a free introductory call.