Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is human blood plasma that has been further enriched by the addition of platelets, a unique cell whose role helps in the clotting of blood. Platelets and the liquid plasma component of blood are essential for cell recruitment during the healing process. Produced using the patient’s own blood, a sample is taken and put into a centrifuge. The centrifuge is a medical tool that allows technicians to separate the patient’s blood into its separate components. Platelet rich plasma can then be harvested from this sample and specially treated before it is injected back into an injured area of the body such as bone, soft tissue, tendons, or ligaments. Platelet rich plasma contains several growth factors and other cytokines which stimulate the regeneration of bone and soft tissue.
PRP is administered by a physician using an injection with the assistance of ultrasound technology. Following the initial injection a patient should prepare to avoid exercise for a brief time and consider beginning a rehabilitation program with an appropriate physical therapist. The beauty of PRP is that it is a relatively simple, non-surgical treatment for problematic joint or muscular injuries. It aims to connect the cutting edge technology becoming available to physicians with the body’s natural propensity to heal itself. The body’s platelets contain special growth hormones that direct the body’s tissues to increase their rate of re-growth in certain tissues. When PRP is injected into the damaged area, it stimulates a mild inflammatory response, which triggers the healing cascade. This leads to restored blood flow, new cell growth, and tissue regeneration. Because the blood is your own, there is no risk of rejection or acquiring blood borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis.
PRP samples are taken from blood that is removed from the patients arm vein and of course always performed under safe and sterile conditions. Next the blood is placed into the previously discussed centrifuge, the centrifuge than spins the blood. This separates the blood’s different components and allows the concentration of platelets to be isolated. This process automatically increases the concentration of platelets which have their healing properties increase from the regularly seen 4% to a staggering 94%. Preparation takes about 15 minutes. The finished PRP product is then available for injection into the joint or tendon under ultrasonic guidance.