Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy is a variation of prolotherapy. The treatment is done by taking a patient’s own blood, spinning it down and extracting growth factors rich plasma from the blood. The plasma is then re-injected into the injured areas stimulating healing by cell regeneration.

Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is blood plasma with concentrated platelets and other growth factors. Platelets in your blood contain numerous Platelet Derived Growth Factors (PDGF). These growth factors stimulate proliferation of fibroblasts and keratinocytes which produce collagen and keratin. PDGF have a significant role in blood vessel formation, the cellular division of fibroblasts (the most common cells in connective tissue), and in synthesizing the extracellular matrix and collagen. Collagen production assists in repair and rejuvenation of injured ligaments, tendons and even cartilage to some degree.

To prepare PRP, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient’s arm. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins and separates the platelets form the rest of the blood components. The entire process takes less than 15 minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 600%. Using the patient’s own blood, specially prepared platelets are taken and re-injected into the affected area. These platelets release special growth factors that lead to tissue healing. By using the concentrated platelets, we increase the growth factors up to eight times which promotes temporary relief and stops inflammation. PRP injections actually heal the area over a period of time. This can be anywhere from one to three months.

Prolotherapy versus PRP Therapy

Both PRP therapy and Prolotherapy have been shown to stimulate natural healing and both can be effective and both should be considered in the treatment plan for connective tissue repair. However, PRP may be more appropriate in some cases. When PRP is used as a Prolotherapy “formula” for chronic or longstanding injuries, the PRP increases the initial healing factors and thereby the rate of healing. The Prolotherapy itself (irritation, needle microtrauma) is what is “treating” the body into initiating repair of these long-forgotten sites, as well as the PRP, itself, which also acts as an “irritating solution”. This is especially important with chronic injuries, degeneration and severe tendinosis, where the body has stopped recognizing that area is “something to repair”. In these cases, PRP may be more appropriate, however, this determination should be made on an individual basis. PRP can also be used preferentially over Prolotherapy in the case of tendon sheath or muscle injury – areas occasionally, but not typically treated with Prolotherapy where the focus is the fibro-osseous junction. Since PRP utilizes growth factors from platelets, it allows to achieve faster healing comparing to prolotherapy.

The article on PRP at Scientific American by Carina Storrs

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