Platelet Rich Plasma
Now we have a profound understanding of what happens in this simple and reliable process, which is the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of dedicated work by cellular biologists.
The explanation that follows is a huge simplification of the truly fantastic work that is being done by the scientists every day all over the world.
What is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is a concentrate of platelets from the circulating blood. Platelets can be harvested simply by taking blood, and then with the help of sophisticated technology, separated, and concentrated from the whole blood.
Platelets are the cells that arrive first to the site of injury as soon as capillaries have been broken. They are the component of blood that initiates clotting around the injury site, and then as they concentrate in the area, they influence healing of the tissue by the release of a vast array of peptides called growth factors.
The growth factor peptides switch on genes that drive tissue repair and differentiation (refinement).
This is the most commonly used biological therapy because it is relatively easy, quick and cost effective.
Here is a situation everyone can relate to: You have a minor cut to the skin, it takes a few minutes to stop bleeding. A clot develops. The area gets sore and swollen for a few days. Then the edges of the wound seal together, followed by scar formation. Over time the scar gets smaller and the tissue loses the red colorations, and finally we forget about it, because the skin is soft and supple and strong and normal again.
That is the body responding to local injury. The clot that is developing is trapping billions of platelets. It is the platelets that are responsible for the clot closing and it is the platelets that switch on the tissue repair that follows spontaneous healing, this is something we expect and take for granted.
Tissue Effects of PRP
Collagen is required to form the structure of all tissue and blood vessels are required to nourish the area as it returns to normal function.
The multitude of GROWTH FACTOR released by platelets have time sequence effects whereby they keep the healing process in motion over weeks.
It makes sense that by therapeutically increasing the platelet concentration in the area of the injury (by injecting them), the healing process is powered up.
How PRP is Obtained?
When we use PRP for accelerating the healing process, we concentrate the population of platelets from peripheral blood by 6-10 times.
In order to do this, we take blood from the arm of the patient and use a sophisticated device that is designed specifically to separate out various cell types from the blood. After separation and concentration of 100 ml of whole blood, there will be a yield of about 10 ml of PRP.
Research on PRP
The internet yields thousands of articles on ‘Clinical use of PRP therapy’.
PRP has been demonstrated to be clinically effective in healing tendon, ligament, bone, muscle and cartilage injury and degeneration. Significantly, it has been demonstrated that it lowers the incidence of infection when used during surgery.
A PRP injection has no recorded side effects. This is because PRP is a product of the patients’ own body which has not been chemically altered. The safety record of PRP use is unique.
Who Could Benefit from PRP?
Anyone who has a tissue injury of any sort could benefit from PRP. In this practice, it is used for stimulating repair of athletic injury and degenerative disease of the musculoskeletal system.
- Ligament injury and degeneration for the following has proven to be beneficial:
- Back Pain
- Ligaments between the vertebrae;
- Wrist pain; from unstable ligaments;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome ;
- Knee pain;
- Strained ACL injury;
- Strained collateral knee ligaments;
- Ankle strain; instability from strained collateral ligaments;
- Finger and thumb pain; instability from lax ligaments;
- Muscle tears anywhere.
- Cartilage damage and degeneration in any joint in the body
- Osteo-arthritis – mild to moderate
- Chondral lesions of big joints
- Facet joints of the spine.
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