Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is another attempt to harness the regenerative power of the human body to treat injuries and accelerate healing processes.
The idea is to extract the patient’s platelets, create concentrated plasma, and inject it back to the affected body part. The assumption is that this would accelerate the healing of musculoskeletal injuries.
Using and even training the human regenerative system to heal injuries and shorten the postoperative period is not a new approach. Medical science has been trying to use the power of human organisms to regenerate itself for decades. PRP therapy is one of such efforts.
A PRP injection contains the patient’s concentrated autologous thrombocytes mixed into a minimal amount of the patient’s plasma. PRP injections have several names. Among them are:
It takes several phases to create a PRP injection. First, the patient’s blood is drawn and anti-coagulated with citrate dextrose. After that, blood is centrifuged using two spins. During the first, hard spin, the platelet-poor plasma (PPP) separates. The additional, soft spin further separates red blood cells and PRP.
Being the heaviest, PRP gathers at the bottom of the vessel and becomes easy to harvest. Before application, PRP is mixed with topical bovine thrombin and calcium chloride. This activates clotting and turns the concentrated PRP into a gel.
Since the process takes a little over 10 minutes, it is usually performed immediately before the therapy. Such PRP injection contains up to 5 times higher concentration of platelets than the native plasma does.
Platelets or thrombocytes boost the healing of musculoskeletal tissues due to several properties:
The release of the growth factors doesn’t happen spontaneously. It has to be triggered. More precisely, growth factors are released when different substances stimulate platelets.
Some of them include collagen, thrombin, and calcium chloride. That is why these substances are added to the PRP just before the injection. Their role is to activate the platelets and make the therapy more effective.
There are several reasons why PRP makes an excellent therapy choice when it comes to healing musculoskeletal injuries:
The questions about PRP efficiency usually involve whether it is more efficient to use autologous PRP or not. In practice, using the patient’s biological material has been proven as more valuable than recombinant content.
The reason why the autologous PRP is more efficient than treating the injury with individual recombinant factors is that autologous PRP releases multiple growth factors, as well as differentiation factors.
Additionally, there are no risks of immune reaction, disease transmissions, or cross-reactions. In simple words, it’s safer and more efficient.
In most cases, PRP is injected. PRP injections can be combined with local anesthetic and administered to the inflamed tissue. Patients report increased pain that lasts around ten days after this procedure. The positive effects of PRP are visible after several weeks.
In some cases, PRP is administered during the surgery. This usually occurs during tendon surgeries. PRP is prepared in a way that allows it to be applied to torn tendon tissue directly. This method is supposed to promote healing.
PRP is used for the injuries and conditions affecting the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The most commonly treated conditions are:
The advantages of PRP therapy involve its affordability and availability. It takes roughly 12 minutes to prepare a PRP injection from a patient’s blood. However, PRP is not without its downfalls. Most of them stem from the fact that more research needs to be conducted to prove the efficiency and the safety of PRP.
Copyright 2019, Developed by Sharq.
Dr. Bagwe is an Orthopedic Surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri | As a world class lower extremity specialist Dr. Bagwe treats disorders of the knee, foot and ankle which cause acute or chronic pain. With several locations in the St. Louis metro area, we offer solutions for Arthritis, Sprains and strains, Bursitis and tendonitis, Fractures, sports related injuries, work related injuries, stress fracture, Cubital tunnel syndrome, Knee ligament tear (ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL), Meniscal (cartilage) tear, Heel spurs, Plantar fasciitis, Shin splints, Hammer toe and other toe disorders, Achilles tendon problems, Bunions, and more.