PRP Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is performed to rejuvenate various tissues and promote better healing.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a therapy in which a person's blood is collected and centrifuged to separate concentrated plasma from the whole blood before being injected.

  • Researchers have reported several applications of PRP with promising results, which are rapidly growing in terms of usage.
  • Although the FDA has certified the equipment used to manufacture PRP and injections, the method is considered experimental and is yet to be approved by the FDA for most purposes.

PRP is not considered a medication because it is derived from one's own blood. As there is no FDA approval yet, doctors perform this treatment only if they feel it is the best treatment option for their patients. PRP treatments may not be reimbursed by insurance.

Although laboratory studies have reported that PRP promotes cell regeneration, experts do not fully comprehend how or why this occurs. Many experts are still puzzled about PRP treatment.

What is PRP therapy?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is performed to heal or rejuvenate various tissues. Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are the blood cells responsible for clotting the blood to stop bleeding and promote the healing of injured tissues.

  • Platelets contain proteins known as growth factors, which enable them to perform their functions.
  • Without platelets, the body cannot go into healing mode, which means it cannot manage inflammation, repair tissues, or produce new skin.
  • Moreover, platelets enhance blood flow and increase collagen formation, which are crucial components in the body's healing process.

PRP treatment aims to boost the power of platelets. By collecting and concentrating platelets into a single injection, an injured body region can get up to five times as many growth factors as normal whole blood.

Best of all, the blood comes from your own body, which removes any possibilities of mismatch, infection, pollution, or other issues that lead to rejection.

How is PRP administered?

To guarantee that the skin is clear of any infection-causing bacteria before injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into an injury site, it must first be cleansed with alcohol, iodine, or betadine.

Because the procedure takes a few minutes, a local anesthetic is given to guarantee the person’s comfort. Traditionally, an anesthetic is administered to the afflicted area and allowed to take effect for about 15 minutes.

PRP therapy begins when 30 mL of blood is collected from the person. A centrifuge separates the PRP from the other components of whole blood. Doctors use ultrasound guidance to inject the concentrated platelets into the damaged region precisely.

Platelets serve as a natural reservoir for growth factors, which are required for tissue healing. Platelet-secreted growth factors promote tissue repair by boosting collagen formation, tendon stem cell proliferation, and tenocyte-related gene and protein expression. These growth factors help increase blood flow and make cartilage firmer and more robust. PRP stimulates tenocytes to multiply rapidly and create collagen for tissue repairs such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles.

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What are the various applications of PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy was originally used in open-heart surgery to accelerate wound healing. Maxillofacial surgeons began using PRP therapy to speed up the recovery of bone surgeries, such as jaw restoration. Soon after, sports medicine specialists started using PRP injections to hasten the recovery from sports injuries and the rest of the world took notice.

PRP therapy is used for the following conditions:

  • Orthopedists and sports medicine doctors use it to treat bone, tendon, joint, ligament, and muscle problems.
  • Dentists use PRP injections to speed up healing and mend soft tissue damage and bones after tooth extractions, implants, or periodontal surgery.
  • Surgeons use PRP therapy to accelerate wound healing and minimize infection rates.
  • Plastic surgeons have long used PRP to accelerate the healing process after cosmetic surgery, but some use PRP injections to increase connective tissue development in the face to smooth out wrinkles and restore skin tone.
  • Dermatologists use PRP in conjunction with the drugs minoxidil or finasteride to treat hair loss in men and women. Platelet growth factors increase hair follicle development, and medicines control the effects of testosterone on the hair follicle. PRP therapy can be used to treat various skin ailments and make the skin look younger.
  • Ophthalmologists administer PRP eye drops directly on the eye surface to treat corneal ulcers and injuries caused by dry eyes. Tear production can be increased by applying PRP eye drops directly to the tear glands.
  • Otolaryngologists use PRP injections to treat the loss of hearing and smell.
  • Some urologists administer PRP injections to people who have erectile dysfunction.
  • Gynecological applications of PRP have increased in the past few years. Direct application of PRP on the surgical site relieves pain and promotes wound healing. PRP therapy treats vulvar dystrophy, refractory endometrium, ovarian failure, and more.

Are there any side effects of PRP therapy?

Because the treatment involves the use of one's own blood, it is usually regarded as a low-risk procedure. However, you may experience specific side effects including:

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Medically Reviewed on 11/17/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections: What to Know: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/platelet-rich-plasma-injections

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_prp-injections.asp

Cosmetic Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy: https://www.wakehealth.edu/treatment/p/platelet-rich-plasma-therapy-cosmetic