What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Before we can discuss platelet-rich plasma, let’s break down the name into two parts. First, blood contains plasma, which is a pale yellow liquid component that houses blood cells. This plasma is a protein reserve of the human body and keeps electrolytes balanced while protecting the body from infection. Second are platelets, which are cells that help clot bleeding. They basically help plug the hole caused by a bodily injury. Therefore, platelet-rich plasma is blood plasma infused with a lot more platelets. PRP contains and releases different growth factors and cytokines that help with cell signaling. All of these stimulate the healing of bone and tissue. So the more there are, the faster the healing.

Today, we use this concept to encourage healing in those with injuries. Platelet-rich plasma therapy was first created in the 1970s but gained popularity two decades later. What does the process entail? First, blood is drawn from the patient. Then the blood’s platelets are separated from the rest of the cells and increased during a process called centrifugation. The amplified blood  is then injected back into the patient at the injured site. PRP, with its increase in growth factors, should then be able to speed recovery using the patient’s own blood.

What can be treated with PRP?

  • Tendon Injuries
  • Muscle Injuries
  • Post-Surgery Tissue Healing

Platelet-rich plasma therapy has been known to relieve pain while helping the body heal faster. However, researchers are still studying and learning about PRP and its capabilities, especially on knee arthritis and bone fractures.

What Can Regenerative Medicine Be Used For?

Regenerative medicine aims to restore and replenish damaged or worn tissue and organs using the body’s own cellular resources. Overall, this medicine is designed to cure otherwise untreatable diseases and injuries. The treatments of regenerative medicine include in vivo, which studies the stimulation of repairs inside the body, and in vitro, which implants a certain treatment directly inside the body.

What are its uses?

  • Cells
    Cellular therapies, including stem cells, act as a repair system for tissues lost to trauma, disease, and natural aging. For example, people suffering from leukemia need new cells because healthy ones were destroyed during treatment. These new cells most commonly come from bone marrow.
  • Artificial Organs
    This medicine has the capability of creating new body parts using a person’s own cells. These organs are lab grown and come directly from the cells of its host. So far, scientists have grown a bladder and trachea for implantation. Other possible organs for future creation are the heart, lungs, and liver.
  • Tissue
    Using a person’s own cells to create new ones allows a regrowth of damaged tissue. Scientists can regrow faulty heart valves without the risk of patient rejection while maintaining the organ’s function.

 

Regenerative medicine also allows researchers to test on lab-grown organs for drug development and personalized medicine advances. Furthermore, this ensures fewer test animals. Using the body’s own repair system, this alternative approach aims to heal bones, burns, blindness, deafness, joints, and more.

What are the Benefits of a Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection?

A PRP injection is meant to help heal and aid recovery from chronic pain or injuries of the tendons, muscles, cartilage, nerves, ligaments, and more. The enriched blood draws regenerative cells to the injured site which immediately start the healing process. The whole injection process only takes about an hour with patients expecting full mobility the next day.

How could you benefit from PRP?

  1. Natural Healing
    The process uses your own blood to jumpstart the healing process. Nothing artificial is necessary.
  2. Affordable
    A platelet-rich plasma injection is a less-invasive alternative to surgery that comes at a cheaper price tag.
  3. Safe
    PRP involves very few risks and complications when performed under proper supervision. Patients also have a low chance of rejecting the blood or having an allergic reaction since it comes from within.
  4. Recovery
    The treatment promises a fast recovery time. Inflammation reduction happens within 10-14 days.
  5. No Scars
    The injection itself produces no unsightly scarring.
  • Now that you know what PRP can offer, let’s look at who can receive and benefit from the treatment:
  • Athletes with sports injuries
  • People with arthritis and tendon injuries
  • Those with skin concerns like aging, wrinkles, and lines

Common injuries treated with PRP include tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears, and jumper’s knee. Researchers are even finding that the enriched blood could help with signs of aging. So far, platelet-rich plasma has proven to be a safe and non-surgical approach to treat injuries while aiding recovery without the use of medications.