What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?
PRP therapy is a new form of regenerative medicine that utilizes your own blood, where the platelet rich plasma component is extracted, concentrated and reintroduced to rejuvenate the skin. Platelets are the key to the body’s ability to stop bleeding and repair damaged blood vessels and cells in the body. Platelets contain substances called growth factors that activate and rejuvenate cells in the body. The concentrated platelets in PRP contain tremendous amounts of bioactive proteins, which include the growth factors PDGF and VEGF. These growth factors have been shown to initiate accelerated tissue repair, and according to experts have also been shown to have positive effects on skin rejuvenation. The growth factors, when released, promote tissue repair, angiogenesis (capillary formation), and collagen production.
The regeneration of new tissue is accomplished by stem cells and fostered by growth factors and hormones. Platelet rich plasma is an autologous blood therapy (patient’s own blood) that takes advantage of these processes to aid in the healing and regeneration of soft tissue and wound healing. Concentrated platelets found in platelet rich plasma contain huge reservoirs of bioactive proteins that signal the body to send in stem cells to initiate connective tissue healing, bone and cartilage regeneration and repair, and promote new blood vessel development to accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. The human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, and by re-injecting concentrated platelets, we maximize stem cell release to optimize healing.
Patients often ask if the healing cascade is already inherent upon injury what the benefits of concentrated platelet therapy are. More often than not, the body’s healing process does not work efficiently and instead of forming healthy collagen fibers and tissues there is significant scar tissue that develops in its place. One of the main risk factors is lack of blood flow to the area to provide the healing powers of platelets and growth factors. The development of scar tissue prohibits proper blood flow as new capillaries and other small blood vessels cannot penetrate through scar tissue to provide blood flow to the injured area. For this reason the affected joint, tendon, ligament or soft tissue area fails to heal completely. Platelet rich plasma is the concentrated healing components of the blood.
Only one percent of the blood contains the bioactive proteins and platelets that are involved in healing. Through a special centrifugation process, we can concentrate the platelets and bioactive proteins 7-11 times above baseline. Platelet rich plasma is activated by injecting it into the injury site. The activated platelets attach themselves to the damaged tissue such as tendon, ligaments, muscle or bone. The concentrated platelets release a surge of bioactive proteins and growth factors that begins to recruit other healing cells to migrate into the area to promote a powerful effective healing cascade. Growth factors stimulate blood flow, promote matrix formation which is the groundwork of all soft tissue repairs, restore tendon and ligamentous proteins that may have been previously compromised, and strengthen cartilage to become more firm and resilient. By incorporating the advances of orthobiologic technology by transforming the future of functional and regenerative medicine. Orthobiologics refer to growth factors and proteins that are naturally found in the human body; when used in higher concentrations, they speed up the healing process for the musculoskeletal system.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an autologous concentration of human platelets in a small volume of plasma. PRP therapy involves removing the patient’s blood and spinning it down to separate into its active parts: serum and platelets. These are then mixed with Calcium Chloride and injected back into problematic areas. The philosophy behind this new, high demand treatment is to merge cutting edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
When activated in the body, platelets release healing proteins called growth factors. These growth factors have been found to accelerate tissue recovery, muscular, skeletal and wound healing, but also have a cosmetic application (e.g. facial and skin rejuvenation).
PRP has been investigated and used as a clinical tool for several types of medical treatments (both bone and soft tissue healing), including nerve injury, tendinitis, cardiac muscle injury, bone repair and regeneration, plastic surgery, and oral surgery. Platelet-rich plasma training has also received considerable attention in the popular media because of its use in treating sports injuries in professional athletes. After taking Empire Medical Training’s workshop and gaining a level of proficiency in performing PRP injections, you will soon learn that there are many patients looking for these innovative techniques. Procedures such as the “Vampire Lift” for facial rejuvenation are common requests from the aesthetic patient.
Does it work?
As a cutting-edge procedure, further research needs to be done to better understand the effects. Currently, there is some evidence that PRP is effective for bone healing, cartilage repair, and wound healing. This therapy has been shown to help to heal tennis elbow and some other sports injuries. Currently, there are ongoing clinical trials assessing the efficacy of PRP for chronic achilles tendinopathy, bone healing, knee cap pain, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and numerous other musculoskeletal injuries.
What are the potential benefits to using PRP?
*Safety: PRP is a safe procedure performed by a physician has knowledge and experience with PRP procedure, which use ultrasound guidance to deliver the PRP to the injured tissue while watching it cover the tissue and avoiding areas that would be less helpful to you.
*Easy recovery time: Patients typically experience minimal to moderate discomfort following the injection which may last for up to 1 week. This is an expected and healthy healing response. Elevation of the limb, and modification of activity is suggested, and pain medication is prescribed if needed for more severe pain. Although rest may be suggested, some patients are able to continue with normal activities or work shortly after the injection.
*Potential benefit: The PRP procedure could potentially speed recovery time, helping to decrease pain and increase performance of the injured area.
*Low risk of infection: The PRP procedure is done with the patient’s own blood therefore helping to decrease infection.
What conditions can the PRP procedure are used for?
PRP may be recommended to help patients with some of the following conditions:
-injured or torn tendons, muscles, and ligaments
-soft tissue recovery
How long does the procedure take?
The PRP injection takes less than 1 hour including the preparation and recovery time.
How often can the PRP procedure be done?
With the response varying from patient to patient and for different injury locations and severities, the number of injections recommended may vary from a single injection up to 3–5.