Platelet-rich plasma

About Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma therapy has made headlines, often because it is favored by elite athletes to help them recover from injury.

Some doctors are now using platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP injections for several causes, from encouraging hair growth to promoting soft tissue-healing.

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet rich plasma, generally referred to as “PRP’, is a non-operative, permanent solution for conditions such as arthritis and ligament/tendon sprains and tears. Utilizing the body’s natural healing process, PRP therapy is a concentration of platelets that are injected into the damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints to promote tissue repair and accelerate healing. Platelets are rich in growth and healing factors which means, on average, an injured individual can get back to a pain-free life in four to six weeks.

However, research studies have not definitively proved that PRP works for the situation it is reported to benefit. In this article, we have a look at the case for PRP, and the costs involved.

About platelet-rich plasma therapy:

  • Doctors use PRP to encourage healing and to reduce inflammation.
  • A doctor doing a PRP injection will first draw blood from the person being treated.
  • Side effects can contain mild nausea, passing out and dizziness.

How does it work?

Platelets are blood cells with several roles to play in the body.

One is to promote blood clotting so that a person does not excessively bleed when they are cut.

Another is to contain proteins in the blood that help wounds to heal.

Researchers theorize that by injecting areas of inflammation or tissue damage with high concentrations of platelets, it can encourage wounds to heal.

A small blood sample is taken from the person being treated and put into a centrifuge or other particular device that spins at high speed. This process separates platelets from other blood components. The concentration of platelets is then injected into the area of the person’s body that needs to be treated.

Because the injection contains a high concentration of platelets, which can be from 5 to 10 times more than the untreated blood, doctors theorize that the platelets will speed up healing.

What are the benefits?

Some examples of treatment areas where PRP has been used include:

Hair growth

Doctors have injected PRP into the scalp, as a way of reducing the inflammation that can lead to hair loss.

Tissue healing

Platelet-rich plasma therapy may be used in plastic surgery to promote tissue healing.

Doctors first used PRP to help people heal after jaw and plastic surgeries. Examples of tissues that PRP has been used on include:

  • tendons
  • ligaments
  • muscles

Ligaments can take time and be hard to heal, which can make PRP an attractive option for some of those who have experienced injuries to this tissue group.

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