Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy is quickly gaining recognition in the medical world for its benefits in healing injuries, treating osteoarthritis, and rejuvenating skin on the face. This therapy is part of relatively new science of medical treatments called orthobiologics. This exciting new field of medicine has already made the headlines. PRP therapy is perhaps the most exciting and effective of them, and has become one of the best orthopedic surgeon tools.
How Does PRP Therapy Work?
Blood is taken from a patient’s body and place in a machine called a centrifuge. This machine separates the red blood cells from the platelets. This takes about a quarter of an hour. The platelets are then re-injected into the soft tissues of the body. The whole process only takes about an hour, and a patient is able to return home immediately. There is a follow up in 6-8 weeks to check how the patient is responding to the therapy. In the case of injuries causing intense pain, multiple visits and treatments may be required.
The kind of pain and injuries that have been treated are muscular, ligament/tendon tears, Achilles tendon issues, Plantar fasciitis (of the feet), tennis elbow, back pain, shoulder ailments, knee pain, and ankle pain. It has also been used to treat the pain of osteoarthritis. A study of 261 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee found that they showed significantly less pain and improved the use of their knees, thus improving their quality of life. (See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20714903)
Some people may have heard of the sensationalized news reports of the new “vampire facelift” that also uses PRP injections. This is because the same healing properties found to double the healing rate for sports injuries can also rejuvenate the face. PRP lets the body release healing proteins called growth factors under the skin of the face. This can slow or even reverse the aging process. This procedure has much less of a recovery time, risk, and pain than traditional face lifts. PRP therapy also has less negative side effects associated with it when compared to procedures such as BOTOX injections.
Benefits of PRP
What are the benefits though? As discussed, it reduces the healing time of many injuries. It is also a more natural treatment since it uses the cells from a patient’s own body to effect the healing. PRP treatments bring many times the healing factors into play than traditional healing treatments. The treatment takes very little time (often less than an hour). Unlike other kinds of shots, like cortisone, the body is not weakened or diminished in any way. The risk is much more minimal than other treatments available. Clinical studies have proven the treatment’s efficacy in all of these aspects. The sports world has even taken the treatment off its banned list since it has been proven to be effective and safe.
With all of these benefits, plus low cost per treatment, PRP therapy is a logical choice even for those who have proven resistant to other treatment options.