Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that harnesses and boosts the natural growth factors located in our blood cells to help recover damaged tissue.
What is plasma, and what are platelets?
Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood. It mainly contains water and proteins, supplying a medium for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to disperse through the body. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are blood cells that generate blood clots and other critical growth and healing functions.
What is Platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is produced from a person’s blood. It is a concentration of one type of blood cell (platelets) essential for blood clotting. This concentration is injected into an injured or diseased part of a person’s body to speed up the healing of damaged tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and joints.
A key advantage of Platelet-rich plasma therapy is that it can reduce the need for opioids or even over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. The use of anti-inflammatories should usually be ceased at the time of PRP treatment because the Platelet-rich plasma optimizes the initial inflammatory response involved with healing.
How is Platelet-rich plasma therapy performed?
PRP injections are designed by taking anywhere from one to a few tubes of your blood. It is then run in a centrifuge to isolate the blood into its components: red and white blood cells, plasma, platelets, etc. The platelets are organized and concentrated to anywhere from 2 to 8 times their standard number.
The platelets are then combined into a blood plasma liquid base and injected directly into the area of injury. Ultrasound imaging is periodically used to guide the injection.
How do PRP injections work?
The activation of the concentrated platelets in Platelet-rich plasma discharges growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces. This greatly enhances the body’s natural healing process.
Conditions that may be treated with Platelet-rich plasma therapy
Tendon, Ligament, Muscle, and Joint Injuries
PRP injections can treat a spectrum of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. For example, chronic tendon injuries like tennis elbow or jumper’s knee can usually take a long time to heal, so adding PRP shots to a treatment regimen can help to facilitate the healing process, reduce pain, and allow a return to activities sooner.
Clinicians first used PRP to accelerate recovery after jaw or plastic surgeries. Post-surgical PRP injections have now developed to help heal muscles, tendons and ligaments, as instructions on these tissues have notoriously long recovery times.
Early studies show that PRP injections may assist in treating osteoarthritis pain and stiffness by modulating the joint environment and reducing inflammation, but research is growing.
PRP injections can be useful in treating male pattern baldness, both in controlling hair loss and promoting new hair growth. PRP can also aid in the stimulation of hair growth after hair transplants.
Do PRP injections have side effects or risks?
The side effects of PRP injections are minimal because your body will not leave or react negatively to them since they are made from your blood.
Competitive athletes should be conscious that Platelet-rich plasma contains endogenous growth factors, so some sports regulatory agencies consider it a performance-enhancing substance.
For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency forbid the injection of PRP within muscles because the growth factors could improve a person’s performance. Nevertheless, there is presently no data to suggest that PRP is a performance-enhancing substance.
Role of regenerative medicine in Platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) holds at least seven growth factors, including epidermal, platelet-derived, transforming, vascular endothelial, fibroblast, insulin-like, and keratinocyte growth factors.
The therapeutic effect of PRP occurs because of the high concentration of these growth factors corresponding with those found in normal plasma. In current years, PRP is widely used across many clinical fields, particularly in regenerative medicine.
This review aims to give an overview of the applications of PRP in regenerative medicine. The mechanisms of PRP’s effects on healing are also stated in this review.
PRP is a promising therapy for those who experience tissue damage or hair loss, but there is still some controversy surrounding this treatment.
To date, there has been no definitive evidence of its effectiveness or standardization of treatment. As an outcome, some health bodies and organizations strongly suggest against Trusted Source the use of PRP treatments. Usually, medical insurance does not cover PRP injections, which can evolve expensive if repeat treatments are necessary.