PRP (platelet-Rich Plasma)
PRP is produced from your own blood. It is a concentration of one type of cell, known as platelets, which circulate through the blood and are critical for blood clotting. Platelets and the liquid plasma portion of the blood contain many factors that are essential for the cell recruitment, multiplication and specialization that are required for healing. After a blood sample is obtained from a patient, the blood is put into a centrifuge, which is a tool that separates the blood into its many components. Platelet-Rich Plasma can then be collected and treated before it is delivered to an injured area of bone or soft tissue, such as a tendon or ligament.
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.
In recent years, doctors have learned that the body has the ability to heal itself.
PRP Injection Process
Step 1: Your blood is drawn -typically from your arm- and put into a centrifuge (a machine that spins rapidly to separate fluids of different densities).
Step 2: The blood is placed into a centrifuge. This machine spins around very quickly, causing the blood components to separate. The separation process takes about 10 minutes. Your blood will have been separated by -platelet rich plasma- platelet poor plasma - red blood cells.
Step 3: The platelet-rich plasma is drawn up into a syringe and then injected into areas needed. Example: the scalp that need increased hair growth, or under the eyes to help lessen the darkening.
Step 4: Doctors will often use imaging, such as ultrasound, to pinpoint specific area for injection such as the tendon. Your doctor will then inject the PRP into the affected area.
What are the purposes of PRP injections?
Researchers are trying out PRP injections across a number of applications.
Examples of these include:
Hair Loss: Doctors have injected PRP into the scalp to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. According to research from 2014, PRP injections are effective in treating androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness.
Tendon Injuries: Tendons are tough, thick bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. They are usually slow to heal after injury. Doctors have used PRP injections to treat chronic tendon problems, such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis's at the ankle, and jumper's knee, which causes pain in the patella tendon in the knee.
Acute Injuries: Doctors have used PRP injections to treat acute sports injuries, such as pulled hamstring muscles or knee sprains.
Postsurgical Repair: Sometimes doctors use PRP injections after surgery to repair a torn tendon (such as a rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder) or ligaments (such as the anterior cruciate ligament)
What is plasma and what are platelets?
Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood. It is composed largely of water and proteins, and it provides a medium for red blood cells that cause blood clots and other necessary growth healing functions.
Platelet activation plays a key role in the body's natural healing process.
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.
Some of the key advantages of PRP injections are that they can reduce the need for anti-inflammatories or stronger medications like opioids. In addition, the side effects of PRP injection are very limited because, since the injections are created from your own blood, your body will not reject or react negatively to them.
What are the potential side effects of PRP?
PRP involves injecting a substance into the skin, there are potential side effects.
PRP is autologous, which means it contains substances that come directly from your own body.
This reduces the risks for an allergic reaction that can occur from injecting other medications, such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are risks from the injection itself including:
• Nerve injuries
• Tissue Damage
• Pain at the injection site
What is the recovery time for PRP injections?
When PRP is injected after an injury, your doctor may recommend that you rest the affected area.
However, these recommendations are more related to the injury and less to the PRP injections.
Most people can continue their daily activities following the PRP injections.
PRP injections are intended to promote healing or growth, you may not notice an immediate difference after receiving the injections.
However, in several weeks or months, the area may begin healing faster or growing more hair than you would have expected if you hadn't received PRP injections.