Welcome to the world of regenerative medicine, where the marvels of the human body are harnessed to foster healing and rejuvenation. In this journey, we explore Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, a groundbreaking approach that utilizes the body’s natural healing mechanisms to treat a range of conditions. From the simple concept of concentrating platelets from your own blood to its application in healing chronic tendinitis, arthritic joints, and even revitalizing skin and hair, PRP therapy represents a paradigm shift in medical treatments.
What exactly is PRP?
PRP is the easy way to say Platelet Rich Plasma. PRP is what is made by drawing blood, putting it into a centrifuge and then concentrating the platelets until they are 5, 10, or even 14 to 20 times the normal level. This super concentrated platelet rich plasma mixture has great healing potential as platelets are called into action every time we injure ourselves. The very first step of the Healing Cascade involves platelets being delivered to the wound and forming a fibrin clot. This clot not only prevents excessive blood loss but also provides a scaffold for inflammatory cells and allows for the release of chemicals which orchestrate tissue repair, scavenge debris and prevent infection. Platelets also release many growth factors which promote new blood vessel growth and begin to replace the fibrin scaffold with new, stronger collagen. As you can see, platelets begin the first step of an intricate, finely tuned repair process.
Unfortunately, sometimes, platelets just cannot get the job done. As we age, all healing phases are affected and healing slows down and sometimes stops short of the goal. For example, when that happens in a tendon, we experience chronic tendinitis pain. If you went to a surgeon to treat a long-standing tendinitis pain, he or she may recommend a steroid injection or surgery. Neither of those approaches helps heal the tendon. Injecting a concentrated platelet mixture can promote further healing so that the tendon becomes strong again and pain is relieved.
Top 5 reasons to use Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy:
- Chronic tendinitis
Chronic tendinitis is a very common indication. Steroids are known to damage tendons, increasing the risk of tearing, so should not be recommended. Surgery removes debris from a tendon and removes loose tendon fragments. It doesn’t really heal the tendon although sometimes it does treat the pain of tendinitis. To encourage healing and regain tendon strength, PRP injections can be quite successful. Chronic Achilles tendinitis, tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis are frequently successfully treated in my office. It’s a one-day procedure consisting of a blood draw in the morning, and injection of concentrated platelets into the damaged area of the tendon under ultrasound guidance a few hours later.
- Arthritic Knee Joint
Multiple studies show that injecting an arthritic knee joint with a PRP solution, where the platelets are known to be concentrated to at least 2 times the normal blood concentration, is more effective in treating the pain associated with knee arthritis than the commonly used corticosteroid injections. Furthermore, we know that steroid injections into the knee destroy the cartilage and increase the risk of a knee replacement failure or infection. Steroid injections also contribute to decreased bone density, high blood sugar and other endocrine abnormalities. Please keep in mind that arthroscopic knee surgery is known to increase a patient’s risk oof getting a knee replacement. The treatment choice for knee pain due to arthritis seems clear here. It’s PRP all the way compared to arthroscopic surgery or steroid injections.
- Prevent Hair Loss and Increase Hair Growth
Platelet Rich Plasma is also known to prevent hair loss and increase hair growth. In our office we frequently use PRP scalp injections in women and men who suffer from hair thinning.
- Facial Rejuvenation
Vampire Facials popularized the use of PRP for facial rejuvenation. In our office, we combine platelet rich plasma with radiofrequency micro-needling to tighten, lift and plump the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, shrink pores, and treat acne and other skin blemishes and scars.
- Healing Injured Tissue
A newer application of concentrated platelets is PRF, platelet rich fibrin. This is the platelet concentrate without any agents added to prevent coagulation. The fibrin clot that develops provides a scaffold for repair and this may provide better healing of injured tissues. PRF can be utilized in all areas where PRP is used, arthritis, tendinitis, facial rejuvenation, and hair growth. Additionally, dentists commonly apply PRF in extraction sockets to prevent infection and promote bone regeneration.
As you can see, platelets are powerful stimulants of regeneration in our body. It’s time we used our God -given healing features more fully and employ PRP and PRF as safe, effective therapeutics. Contact Advanced PainCare and BioHealth Institute and schedule an appointment.