Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an innovative treatment option designed to enhance and accelerate wound and soft tissue healing, but is it right for everyone? The answer for most people is an astounding yes. Since the 1990s, medical professionals have provided PRP injections in order to improve functioning and reduce pain in a variety of clinical situations.
Today, platelet-rich plasma technique is the go-to treatment for athletes suffering from anything from a sprained ankle to chronic tendon injuries. It is also frequently used to improve healing after oral, maxillofacial, plastic, reconstructive and orthopedic surgery.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
With platelet-rich plasma injections, doctors introduce a blood product around a wound to facilitate healing. A recent study conducted by Stanford University found that the use of platelet-rich plasma did accelerate healing in tendon repair, for example.
How Does Platelet-rich plasma Work?
Platelet-rich plasma treatment requires plasma that contains a large concentration of platelets, the component in blood that clumps to create blood clots that stop bleeding. These clotting elements, or platelets, contain growth factors that are critical to tissue repair. By introducing them into the damaged area, the growth factors stimulate healing.
The PRP process starts when a small amount of blood is drawn from the patient — typically 20 to 50ccs. That blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the other blood elements like the red blood cells. The balance of the blood is given back to the patient with only the platelet-rich plasma technique held for later use. At some point, the PRP is injected into an injured area or to improve healing after surgery.
Why does Injecting PRP Help Heal Tissue?
The truth is it’s not exactly clear why injecting PRP enhances healing, but the clinical evidence proves the benefit. What medical science does know is that the concentration of growth factors found in the Platelet-rich plasma method plays a significant role.
Platelet-rich plasma has at least five growth factors. The introduction of these growth factors into a surgical site increases the number of healing cells to stimulate blood vessel growth, promote homeostasis, enhance wound healing and help repair bone. It’s the high concentration of platelets found in PRP that is responsible for introducing these growth hormones into the tissue.
Is PRP Only Used in Surgery?
PRP therapy has many uses, including to promote better healing after surgery. It is also a practical choice to repair chronic tendon injuries and acute damage to ligaments and muscles. The amount of blood volume loss is insignificant for the patient but the benefits provided by PRP speed up the healing process.
Recovering from a surgery is a long and tedious process and can leave the patient restless and inevitably reinjure themselves while trying to do too much too soon. The platelet-rich plasma technique is a great solution to accelerate the road to recovery. Dr. Vermillion has been treating patients with PRP for over 10 years. Give us a call if you have questions about what PRP therapy might do for you.