What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?
PRP is a platelet rich plasma preparation that contains highly concentrated growth factors with reduced red blood cells. PRP, concentrated from your own blood, contains healing factors such as white blood cells, growth factors and stem cell signaling markers. These cells are vital for tissue regeneration and repair. Platelets, once though of being responsible for only clotting, have been scientifically proven to be a reservoir of these vital healing components. With advanced techniques we are able to concentrate these regenerative healing cells in a simple outpatient setting.
A small amount of peripheral blood is taken from the patient and placed into an FDA medically approved container. This sterile disposable container is placed in a specialized centrifuge, for spinning twice, to separate the whole blood sample into ‘layers’ of platelet rich plasma (PRP) and red blood cells. The PRP layer is aspirated from the red blood cells and is injected or applied, under sterile conditions, into the localized area of abnormality.
Traditional vs. Pure PRP
Although Pure PRP requires the same processing time as traditional PRP, the benefits of Pure PRP are clear. Pure PRP provides a lower red blood cell and white blood cell count which leads to improved patient response to treatment due to a reduction in inflammation. A 9 to 10 fold increase in platelet concentration above the baseline is only obtained through Pure PRP, as opposed to traditional PRP.
Little to no Risk Factors
PRP is from your own blood, autologous, so there is little to no risk when conducted by a trained professional. Since the cells are autologous there is no risk for an allergic or immune reaction. Side effects or complications with PRP are extremely rare. Consult your physician for more information.
The total process can last up to 30 minutes. However, the majority of time will be used for processing the specimen by a trained medical specialist.
The Healing Process
PRP signals for stem cells and regenerative cells to repair and rebuild the damaged tissue. This accelerated healing process reduces pain, promotes increased strength, and improves overall function. The process, called the healing cascade, can be active and take place over a 4-6 weeks period
Long Term Outcome
Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms over the course of healing time. This procedure may eliminate the need for further invasive treatments, such as surgery or prolonged use of medications. While other treatments such as corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, PRP injections stimulate healing of the injury over a shorter time period with less side effects. Patients usually report a gradual improvement in symptoms and return of function. Some patients require two to three treatments to obtain optimal results and may even experience a dramatic return of function and relief within 2-3 months.
Recovery After Treatment
The anesthetic used to numb the skin generally wears off in 1-2 hours. Mild pain and swelling may occur at the injection site. However, the majority of patients are able to return to usual activities with NO down time.
You must be particularly careful not to traumatize the area during this post-treatment time frame. Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Patients can apply ice and elevation as needed. Use the area as tolerated since restricting movement for an extended time can cause stiffening. Movement and massages promote circulation in the area and also assist with healing. After a week the patient will likely begin a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. Pain medication will be prescribed if needed. It is important to avoid anti-inflammatory medications as they will interfere with the healing process.