Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has become a prominent alternative treatment for injuries. The reason for the increasing popularity of this technique is that some famous athletes opt for PRP for injury treatment. Generally, this treatment is effective for injuries that otherwise require physical therapy, medication, or surgery for complete healing.
Your blood comprises of different components, including cells and platelets. The main role of platelets is to clot blood, while they comprise of a number of growth factors that can enhance the healing process. The ‘plasma’ in the title refers to your blood. In essence, PRP injections contain plasma with a higher concentration of platelets than your blood typically contains. Hence, the concentration of growth factors is higher as well.
The process involves drawing blood from the patient. The doctor will then separate the white blood and red blood cells from the platelets. Using centrifugation, the doctor will increase the concentration of platelets in the plasma, which then merges with the residue from the blood sample.
How It Works
A number of studies indicate that a higher concentration of growth factors can lead to quicker healing in the injured area. PRP has two main applications, i.e. injury healing and post-surgery healing.
Your doctor will inject the PRP directly into the injury site, with care and precision. For instance, if you are dealing with a rotator cuff injury, the tissue in the area can get inflamed, leading to intense pain. Your doctor will inject the PRP into the inflamed tissue directly, resulting in the pain increasing initially but eventually subsiding within a few weeks.
If you have undergone surgery for treating an injury, your doctor might recommend PRP as a means of speeding up the healing process. The process involves administering the PRP directly in the injured area during the surgery. For this, the doctor will prepare the PRP in a different way than they do for an injection.
Is PRP Effective?
Medical experts are actively researching the effectiveness of PRP for injury treatment and post-surgery healing. The efficacy of this treatment can vary from case to case, and depends on a number of factors, including
- The extent of the injury, as the treatment, is more effective for acute injuries
- The site of the injury, as injecting the plasma into certain areas of the body can be a challenge
- The health of the patient, as healthy patients with strong immunity will derive greater benefit from the treatment
The nature of the injury also determines whether the treatment will prove effective. To date, PRP is a viable means of treatment for
- Tendon injuries
- Muscle and ligament injuries
As mentioned, the treatment can also help patients heal quicker after surgery.
The Future of PRP
PRP is an alternative treatment without conclusive evidence of its effectiveness for treating injuries. In cases where doctors have used this treatment, the increased concentration of growth factors has in fact delivered positive results. Down the line, research and further studies can determine the acceptability of PRP as a widely used treatment.