Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet-Rich Plasma, a form of regenerative medicine, is becoming a more popular option for giving a boost to the healing of injuries. Over the past few years there has been a rise in the number of articles about PRP and its effectiveness in the treatment of injuries and other chronic conditions. Professional athletes have received PRP for a multitude of injuries, ranging from sprains to chronic tendon injuries. Previously, conditions such as these have typically been treated with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or surgery. Now this type of therapy is available to you.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
In recent years, doctors have learned that the body has the ability to heal itself. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that can harness those abilities and amplify the natural growth factors your body uses to heal tissue.
Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries.
PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual.
To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation.
How PRP Works: The Patient’s Own Healing System
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient’s own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.
PRP injections are prepared by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of your own blood and running it through a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These activated platelets are then injected directly into your injured or diseased body tissue. This releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces.
Improve the Healing Process
Platelet-rich plasma has been found to significantly enhance the healing process, and using a PRP injection for shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff tears, for Achilles tendon ruptures and for other soft-tissue injuries is becoming more common.
Limited Side Effects
Some of the key advantages of PRP injections are that they can reduce the need for NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen) or stronger medications like opioids. In addition, the side effects of PRP injections are very limited because, since the injections are created from your own blood, your body will not reject or react negatively to them.