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.