Platelet rich plasma therapy, sometimes known as PRP therapy, is a type of injectable regenerative medicine that uses a patient’s own blood to improve their body’s natural healing process.
Many famous athletes, including Tiger Woods, have utilized PRP therapy to treat sports-related injuries. But PRP therapy can be used to treat more than just sports injuries. Platelet rich plasma therapy has also been used to treat the following health and cosmetic issues:
- Tennis elbow and other elbow injuries
- Achilles tendon and tendon injuries
- Joint pain and injuries
- Chronic pain
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Hair loss
How does Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Work?
A single drop of blood contains many different components:
- Red blood cells: A blood cell that carries oxygen throughout the body and remove carbon dioxide.
- White blood cells: A blood cell that protects the body against invaders, like diseases and infections.
- Platelets: A blood cell that prevents bleeding and clots wounds. These cells also contain growth factors, special proteins that promote tissue repair and healing.
- Plasma: The liquid component of blood that transports red and white blood cells and platelets throughout the body.
As you may have guessed from this treatment’s name, the key components involved with it are platelets and plasma.
When a sample of blood is spun around in a centrifuge, the blood begins to divide its components. One part of the sample may contain more platelets in the plasma. That part is what will be used in the platelet rich plasma injection.
The idea behind PRP therapy is that by injecting platelet rich plasma into the site of the afflicted area, you will experience an improved natural healing process. The more platelets that are sent to the injury site, the faster and better the healing process will be.
How is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Done?
Platelet rich plasma therapy starts with a healthcare specialist drawing your blood. That blood sample will then be placed in a centrifuge, a machine that spins liquids around. The centrifuge spins the blood sample fast enough to separate its components.
The specialist will take the separated plasma that contains the greatest number of platelets and prepare it as a PRP injection. From there, they will inject the platelet rich plasma into the patient’s afflicted area.
In some cases, such as those involving muscle injuries, platelet rich plasma therapy often includes ultrasound imaging that guides the injection.
Does Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Work?
Yes! Platelet rich plasma therapy works effectively for many different health issues, though it may be more effective in some treatments than others.
How Effective is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy? How Long Do the Effects of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Last?
The effectiveness of platelet rich plasma varies. The main factors that contribute to PRP therapy’s effectiveness are:
- The area being treated
- The patient’s general health
- The injury’s severity: acute (typically occurs from a single event like a fall or sprain) or chronic (worsens over time)
These factors also apply to how long the effects of PRP therapy last. Chronic pain, like from arthritis, may require a recurring schedule of injections. Some people may have a higher or lower pain tolerance, which can affect how often they need these injections.
For acute injuries, it may only take a single treatment. Other acute injuries might require follow-up appointments for a certain number of months, depending on the severity of the injury.
Talking with a medical expert who specializes in regenerative medicine can help determine platelet rich plasma’s effectiveness.
Is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Safe?
Platelet rich plasma therapy is one of the safest pain treatment options available. It can reduce or even eliminate the need for stronger and often addictive pain medications like opioids while still allowing anti-inflammatory pain medications like ibuprofen or aspirin as options.
Receiving PRP therapy is a simple procedure that rarely takes more than 30 or 40 minutes to perform. Once you’ve gotten the PRP injection, you can go home or back to work.
Because platelet rich plasma therapy uses the patient’s own blood, there is little to no risk of the patient rejecting the treatment or experiencing an allergic reaction.
The side effects of platelet rich plasma are the same as any injection-based treatment and have nothing to do with the contents of the injection. PRP side effects may include:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Bleeding at the injection site
- Swelling at the injection site
Schedule a Consultation to See if Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is Right for You
Memphis Regenerative Healthcare specializes in the latest advancements in regenerative medicine, including platelet rich plasma therapy.
Schedule a consultation with us today to see if PRP therapy is a viable pain treatment option for you.