Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is an advanced non-surgical technique that is presently accessible for use as an in-office method and uses PRP injections. Years back, it was believed that platelets worked solely to form blood clots or particularly to bind to each other at the prospect of bleeding in order to form a “plug” to prevent the flow of blood.
Recent research has revealed, however, that the platelet has a far more important part in the healing process than initially thought. When platelets aggregate at the sight of an injury or bleeding, they not only form the “plug” to stop the bleeding but they also discharge growth factors. These growth factors, also famous as cytokines, help in the healing process of injured tissues.
How is it done?
Patients are recommended to stop using anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Aspirin) one week prior to their first injection.
During a visit to the orthopedist’s office, blood is extracted from the patient’s body and is then spun in a high-speed centrifuge. Once the blood components separate, just the platelet rich plasma is drawn to be utilized for the PRP injection.
To ensure the precision of the placement of the platelet rich plasma, a diagnostic ultrasound is carried out. After numbing the injection site, the injured tendon is injected with the PRP. Using ultrasound, a needle connected to a syringe containing the PRP gel is directed into the spots of injury. Since there is no surgical incision or cuts involved, there is little or no post-procedural pain. The patient is observed for a short period of time after the injection. This process takes around 1 to 2 hours.
Being a concentrated source of autologous platelets, considering that the blood is drawn from the patient’s own body, PRP is known to contain growth factors and cytokines that are capable of stimulating the healing of soft tissue.
Our blood essentially consists of red blood cells (93%), white blood cells (1%) and platelets (6%), all of them floating in plasma. During a PRP treatment, the platelets increase to a staggering 94%, while the red blood cell count is lowered to 5% and the white blood cell count remains the same.
Essentially, PRP has been used extensively used in certain specialties of dentistry and dermatology. The steps are:
- Blood is withdrawn from the patient’s body using a syringe
- Centrifugation using a meticulously defined protocol (it separates the red and white blood cells from the platelets)
- Plasma that’s rich in platelets is drawn from the sample
- An activating agent is added to the plasma, rendering it fitting for the treatment.
As soon as the PRP gel is applied to the spot of the injury, the platelets are activated to generate proteins capable of stimulating cellular growth, production, and growth factors. By concentrating the number of platelets found in normal blood by 10 times, the presence of growth factors in the spot is evenly improved. This is important as far as the healing process is concerned, because growth factors are accountable for attracting stem cells that will ultimately become new bone, tendon, or fascia.
The process is extremely safe. Since the blood is drawn and processed immediately, there is no chance of contamination or uncertainty. Also, since the injection consists of blood from the same patient being treated, there is no possibility of any allergic reaction. Moreover, platelets have a natural antibiotic quality, so there is very slight probability of infection.
The most common disease treated through PRP injections is the painful heel condition, also known as plantar fasciitis. However, tendonitis, inflammatory bone conditions, and partial tendon ruptures have also been successfully treated with PRP.
Since PRP uses your own tissue to help in the healing process, there will not be complications arising from antibodies’ reaction. PRP is proven to be useful in the musculoskeletal treatment of the body in places such as the knee, spine, shoulders, and hip.
Who are the right candidate for PRP injections and who are not?
Any grown-up patient with a history of tendonitis, who has not responded to other forms of treatment, whose symptoms are significant enough, are thinking about surgery or repeat steroid injections, are the right candidate.
Patients who are taking blood thinners, who cannot quit consuming anti-inflammatory medicines and cannot follow the prescribed rest and healing regimen after taking the PRP injections, are not good candidates.
PRP for Acne Scars
Acne scars are a common skin problem among millions of people all over the globe. Acne scars are a form of hyper-pigmentation that’s left over the acne scratches and are hard to get rid of, if treated conventionally.
Acne scars are generally caused by the following reasons:
2. damage of elastin and collagen
3. unwanted collagen buildup
PRP treatment process leverages body’s blood rich is platelets to heal and treat injuries affecting the soft tissue. Regenerating and rejuvenating the soft tissues, PRP treatment for acne scars fuel blemish healing. What’s best is the fact that during the entire process, no foreign substance is used.
Not only does it stimulate growth and enhancement of platelets, it also regenerates soft tissues and stimulates the development of new capillaries and blood vessels, thus improving the surface and vitality of the skin.
In fact, PRP treatment also stimulates keratinocytes and fibroblasts, helping in the creation of new skin in the place of the scarred leftovers. For deeper, more pigmented acne scars, a PRP process should be ideally followed by a microneedling treatment. This helps in reducing the scar depth.
PRP, as a substitute for laser treatments and surgeries, is safe and minimally invasive. It’s a process entirely free from risks. For the best results, it is wise to discuss your treatment plan with your dermatologist.
If you are planning to get PRP injections in Utah, PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma treatment is a rejuvenation treatment provided by South Valley OrthoMed Clinic.