One of the most common is “platelet-rich plasma” (PRP) therapy. This simple procedure takes your body’s resources and uses them to kick-start the healing process of bones and soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This is helpful because the initial onset of the recovery process for these tissues is often the most crucial component of ensuring a successful and speedy recovery.
Research has shown promising results that will merit further examination of this procedure, where the platelet-rich plasma has even boosted the healing properties of life-threatening wounds! There is also research to suggest PRP as an effective treatment for androgenic alopecia , which is the most common form of hair loss.
Utilized primarily by sports medicine specialists and orthopedic doctors, there’s little to suggest that such a non-invasive procedure shouldn’t be used more frequently. However, if you are wondering if PRP therapy could be beneficial to you, it’s worth considering all aspects.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Plasma is the liquid part of your blood; comprised mostly of water and proteins. It’s the medium that the important cells travel through; like the water that carries you through a water slide!
Platelets are the smallest type of blood cells we have. They have one very important main purpose: to stop your wounds from bleeding by forming clots.
PRP is a sample of your blood that has been slightly modified to be abundant with platelets. Pretty simple, right?
How Does It Work?
What PRP therapy does is help to accelerate the initial inflammatory response that your body uses to signal the rest of the components that heal your wounds.
Normally, we think of inflammation as a negative thing. Truthfully, it is the very first step to healing all wounds. Just as a fever is meant to create an unstable environment for possible antigens and to signal the need for antibodies; inflammation is meant to create a hot and liquid-filled area where white blood cells, platelets, antibodies, and other vital healing cells are called to action.
If your body had an alarm that began the healing process, PRP sounds that alarm quickly; much faster than it would activate naturally.
What Can It Do?
Much more research is needed before any conclusive certainties can be established about the extent of the capabilities of PRP. However, the results as of now are pretty promising! Below is a comprehensive list of the ailments, injuries, and conditions that have shown PRP as a promising treatment:
◦ Hamstring Injuries
◦ Muscle Tears
◦ Rotator Cuff Tendinosis/Tears
◦ AC & Glenohumeral Joint Arthritis
◦ Plantar Fasciitis
◦ Trochanteric Bursitis
◦ Androgenetic Alopecia
◦ Piriformis Syndrome
◦ ITB Friction Syndrome
◦ Lateral/Medial Epicondylitis (Tennis/Golfers Elbow)
◦ Injuries to the Flexor, Extensor, and Bicipital Tendons
◦ Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injuries
◦ Kneecap Pain (Patellofemoral Syndrome)
◦ Quadriceps/Hamstring Strains
◦ Patellar Tendinosis (Jumper’s knee)
◦ Achilles Tendon Injuries
◦ Peroneal/Posterior Tibialis Tendon Injuries
What’s The Procedure?
Considering its outpatient and non-invasive nature, you can expect the entire process to take an hour and a half at most. Intake and preparation will involve drawing one or two ounces of blood, depending on the condition or injury being treated.
The blood is processed to produce the PRP injection by concentrating your platelets and extracting them from the rest of your blood and collecting them in a syringe. For reference, the one or two ounces of blood drawn will produce one or two teaspoons of PRP to be injected. Quite a concentration! This takes roughly a half-hour.
Then the doctor will numb the area to be treated, which will take approximately 15 minutes for the nerve block to take effect. Once fully numb, the doctor will begin injecting PRP in the appropriate area, in the appropriate amounts.
Afterward, you can expect the numbing to fade over the next few hours and you’ll feel a slight pain from the inflammation, but this is a good thing!