Although an emerging technology and technique in sports medicine, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a new wave of therapy to treat injuries like chronic tendon, acute ligament and muscle, and knee arthritis. Famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Rafeal Nadal, Hines Ward, and Kobe Byrant have been credited PRP and able to return quickly to competition. As a result, PRP has proven to be an effective and better yet, a quicker form of treatment.
What is PRP?
Blood is known as plasma and made of three smaller solid components- red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. Platelets are important in clotting blood and contain hundreds of proteins known as growth factors. Growth factors mainly function to accelerate tissue and wound healing through five essential processes:
- TGF-β: increases musculoskeletal connective tissue
- PDGF: attracts stem cells for repairing body
- Epidermal: stimulates connective growth tissue
- Vascular endothelial growth factors
- Fibroblast growth factors in which stimulate oxygen and nutrient flow
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) contains almost 5 to 10 times more platelets than blood itself.
How is PRP prepared?
First, blood is drawn out of patient into a vile. The blood then goes through the process of centrifugation- the process of platelets being separated from the other blood cells while so the concentration of platelets. The increased concentration of platelets are combined with the patient’s blood and then injected to the site of injury. The whole process takes about 15 minutes.
Increased concentration of growth factors are infused into the site of injury for patient. The addition of the concentrated platelets allows the natural healing process to provide a safer, lower risk of infection, and faster recovery time with the body’s response from the growth factors to repair stronger. The procedure takes less than one hour. Response to the treatment varies for each patient, however, the number of injections recommended are around 3 to 5. The goal of PRP Therapy is to stimulate of growth new tissue for long-term healing.
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