What is Platelet Rich Plasma – PRP
When soft tissue injuries don’t heal, many doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatories, over the counter pain medications, topical ointments, creams and gels, supports and bandages, physical therapy, massage, ultra-sound, acupuncture and even cortisone injections – but these for the most part don’t work because the injury is inhibited from healing due to scar tissue.
The development of scar tissue reduces blood flow and regenerated capillaries along with blood vessels. These can’t penetrate through the scar tissue in order to provide needed blood flow to the injured area for better healing. Many athletes are using PRP to treat their injuries.
PRP therapy is being used by doctors to improve healing. Most doctors are using PRP to treat tendon and ligament injuries, especially in knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. Tendons and ligaments are made up of fibers of collagen and when these fibers are torn physicians may “fix” them with PRP injections directly to the problem area.
How is PRP used?
In PRP treatment, the patient’s own blood is taken with a simple blood draw. Using a special centrifuge machine at the doctor’s office, the patient’s own blood is spun to separate out and highly concentrate the platelets and growth factors that are essential for tissue healing.
This small amount of biological fluid with concentrated platelets and growth factors is called Platelet Rich Plasma or (PRP). Since the patient is using their own blood, there is no risk of allergic reaction or rejection from a foreign substance being introduced into the body.
PRP therapy is a completely natural medical procedure using the body’s own platelets and healing growth factors. The expertise of the physician is required in delivering the platelet rich plasma to injured site in sufficient quantity to boost the healing process and overcome scar formation.
The physician uses an ultrasound machine to view the area within the ligament or tendon that is injured or has scar tissue formation. After identifying collagen fibers, scar tissue and blood flow to the area – the physician uses a special needle to inject the platelet rich plasma directly into the injured tissue to enhance healing of the collagen fibers.
The platelet rich plasma is also injected directly into microscopic tears to foster healing. Once delivered to the injured tissue, the platelets and growth factors become activated attracting other healing proteins and growth factors to the injured area so healing and regeneration of the tissue can commence.