What is PRP? PRP is an acronym for platelet rich plasma. Blood is composed primarily of a liquid that is known in the medical field as plasma. However, blood also contains solid particles such as red and white blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body and fight off germs in the body. Blood also contains another solid particle called platelets that helps blood clot during injury. It has been discovered by researchers that platelets also contain proteins that play a crucial role in the healing of muscle, ligament and other injuries. In essence, PRP is blood that contains a much higher level of platelets than normal. PRP solutions contain up to 5 to 10 times the amount of platelets than what is typically found in the bloodstream.
How Does PRP Help Treat Injuries?
PRP platelet rich plasma therapy uses plasma or blood that is rich in platelets to speed the healing process. Platelets have been found to contain numerous proteins called growth factors that are vital in the healing process after injury. The growth factors found in platelets stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Platelets and the growth factor proteins they contain speed the body’s natural healing process in the following way:
- Increase Collagen Production
- Encourage Rengeneration of Tendon Stem Cells
- Increase Blood Flow
- Strengthen Cartilage
Collagen production is crucial for skin, muscle, ligament, cartilage and tendon repair. By increasing collagen production in the body naturally, the healing process for injured muscles, torn ligaments and damaged cartilage can be significantly reduced. Platelets also increase the growth of new tendon stem cells in the body which can significantly reduce the recovery time from tendon injuries such as tennis elbow. By strengthening cartilage, platelets help prevent future injuries and allow an athlete to return to competition faster. Increased blood flow has a general healing effect by increasing the amount of nutrients and other repair mechanisms on the site of injury.
What Kinds of Injuries Can PRP Help Treat?
PRP can help to treat a wide variety of injuries such as torn ligaments, sprained ankles, tennis elbow, tendinitis, torn rotator cuffs and certain forms of arthritis. Platelet rich plasma injection therapy is the most common way of administering PRP to patients. After blood is collected from a patient, it is filtered and a platelet rich plasma solution is injected directly to site of injury. It may take weeks to see results and the treatment can last several months depending on the severity of the injury and condition of the patient.