During the past two decades, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used in the regeneration and the treatment of injuries.
Many famous athletes — Tiger Woods, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and several others — have received PRP for various problems, such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. These types of conditions have typically been treated with medications, physical therapy, or even surgery. Some athletes have credited PRP with their being able to return more quickly to competition.
Even though PRP has been commonly used, there are plenty of questions that are still not answered about it, and here are some of them:
Blood is a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small particles (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) Platelets are best known for their blood clotting abilities. At the same time, platelets also contain hundreds of growth factors which are like foremen, which will help the healing process, and increase tissue regeneration.
PRP is plasma with numerous platelets than what is usually found in blood. The higher the concentration of platelets, means the higher the concentration of the growth factors, and that could reach 10 times greater (or richer) than what is found in typical blood samples.
Blood must first be drawn from a patient, the amount of blood drawn will be determined by your naturalpathic doctor. The platelets are separated from other blood cells, (red and white blood cells), using a centrifuge, which will guarantee the concentration of the platelets.
Finally, our practitioner injects the platelets into the area of your body that has diseased or damaged tissue. The blood than encourages that area to heal using its growth factors.
Laboratory studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process.
To speed healing, the injury site is treated with the PRP preparation. This can be done in one of two ways:
1) PRP can be carefully injected into the injured area. For example, in Achilles tendonitis, a condition commonly seen in runners and tennis players, the heel cord can become swollen, inflamed, and painful. A mixture of PRP and local anesthetic can be injected directly into this inflamed tissue. Afterwards, the pain at the area of injection may actually increase for a short period. It might take a few weeks before the patient feels a beneficial effect.
2) PRP may also be used to improve healing after surgery for some injuries. For example, an athlete with a completely torn heel cord may require surgery to repair the tendon. Healing of the torn tendon can possibly be improved by treating the injured area with PRP during surgery. This is done by preparing the PRP in a special way that allows it to actually be stitched into torn tissues.
Factors that can influence the effectiveness of PRP treatment include:
The list keeps on going, and the most amazing common thing is that these athletes are still competing and perform at their optimum function.