Platelet-rich plasma therapy has been popularized a lot in the last decade due to its potential effectiveness in the treatment of pain and injuries.
Millions of people are suffering from chronic and painful conditions that affect their activities of daily living. Until now, doctors do not have many options to treat chronic pain. Howbeit, a new technology known as platelet-rich plasma therapy has revolutionized the ways of promoting tissue healing and regenerating new blood cells.
When applied locally to the injury site, platelet-rich plasma therapy accelerates healing of patients suffering from chronic tendon injuries, acute ligament and muscle injuries, soft tissue injuries, arthritis and fracture.
What exactly is platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Human blood consists of plasma (a liquid), red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The principal function of platelets is to prevent bleeding from damaged blood vessels.
Platelets also contains thousands of special proteins called “growth factors” that are important for regeneration and tissue healing
Platelet-rich plasma is the plasma with a substantially high number of platelets than usual.
In the PRP, The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater than what is found in typical blood.
In platelet-rich plasma therapy, doctors inject blood sample directly into the injured area, after it has been prepared properly.
After injecting platelets, Patients are asked to rest for 6 to 8 weeks. Patients suffering from chronic pain or severe injuries may require multiple injections for complete recovery.
How is platelet-rich plasma prepared?
To extract the growth factors, a blood sample is taken from the patient. It is then placed into a centrifugal machine, which separates plasma from white and red blood cells. Once separated, it is added back to the blood sample. As a result, we will get a sample with higher concentration of growth factors.
How does it work?
After preparing the sample, doctor injects the blood sample directly into the site of injury. If the area to be treated is sensitive, doctors often numb the part with local anesthesia.
It has also been used during surgery to promote faster tissue healing. A blood sample is injected right into the affected area after the surgical repair is made. Over time, PRP helps in proper wound healing. Read more here to get lot of treatments.
How safe are PRP injections?
One of the best things about PRP injections is that its administration doesn’t require any surgical procedure. Not surprisingly, they are considered to be one of the safest forms of treatment. As PRP treatment uses patient’s own blood sample, there is no chance of any allergic reaction in the recipient.
However, there is a chance of nerve damage, depending on the area to be treated. Although rare, chances of excessive bleeding or infection is also there
But overall, PRP injections are safe to use in otherwise healthy individuals.
When can you return to normal activity?
Well, it depends on the severity and area of the injury. Most people feel better with single injection. Since it accentuates body’s natural healing process, its effects doesn’t wane off over time, unlike most steroid injections. As, most people treated with steroid injections need another shot in 6 months to 1 year.
It is advisable to take doctor’s advice before taking PRP injections, if you think you can get benefit from this.