What Is Platelet Rich Plasma?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) refers to a “version” of an individual’s blood platelets that have been enhanced to contain many more growth factors than naturally occur in blood platelets. This spike in growth factors is present when a person’s blood is drawn, and the platelets are separated out from the white and red blood cells.
These platelets are then put into a separator in order to increase the number of growth factors in the sample. Growth factors are proteins that are incredibly useful in the process of healing various injuries.
For this reason, many swear by the PRP process to heal different types of injuries. Orthopedic doctors have begun to advocate for this type of non-traditional treatment in order to see if it can be a genuine help to those suffering.
It is thought that injecting PRP into the site of an injury can help to aid and speed the body’s natural healing process in a way that many other more traditional treatments have failed to do. The medical community seems to tout the benefits of these treatments for certain conditions, while there isn’t quite enough evidence to support it being an effective treatment across the board.
If you think you might be a good candidate for platelet rich plasma therapy, consult with your doctor to talk about your options.
How Is PRP Performed?
PRP therapy is an injection process that is similar to cortisone injections in terms of how invasive and disruptive the process can be to your day to day life. Most people are able to sit for the injection and return to normal activity immediately.
The injection itself is a combination of the patient’s altered blood and an anesthetic to increase comfort during the procedure. The way that this particular type of injection therapy functions is that it actually tends to increase pain levels for a week or so before showing noticeable results.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is thought the speed the healing and growth in areas that have sustained an injury. In the aftermath of an injury or following surgery, PRP therapy can be an asset in the healing and pain relief process.
What Symptoms and/or Conditions Might It Alleviate?
As has been stated previously, PRP therapy shows promising results for certain conditions and injuries, while remaining insufficiently tested in other areas, so it is important to work with your doctor to determine if it can provide the relief you seek for your particular circumstances. Many who face the following medical needs may find their pain and chronic issues to be alleviated through the employment of PRP therapy.
Arthritic joints can be painful and debilitating for those who suffer from them. In these cases, many individuals seek out the help of orthopedic doctors and feel that PRP therapy might be right for them.
It is true that they may experience some relief, and that the process is so minimally invasive that it poses no great threat to the lifestyle of the patient. However, it is important to keep in mind that the effectiveness of PRP therapy for those with arthritis is still relatively untested.
Ligament and Muscle Injuries
The most widespread support that platelet rich plasma therapy enjoys is from the world of professional athletes in reference to their ligament and muscle injuries.
Famous athletes profess to experience expedited healing and marked pain reduction in their ligament and muscle injuries following PRP injections. They note that the therapy tends to shorten healing time and reduce pain effectively.
Although these claims aren’t yet extensively supported by evidence, the personal testimonies do speak to many patients, getting them very interested in hearing more about it.
Doctors have high hopes for the PRP therapy injections in terms of how they can support the healing process of those undergoing surgery to repair issues or reduce pain. It has been attempted for shoulder surgeries and various leg/knee injuries but has yet to be documented as a clear success. Time will tell if the PRP therapy is going to become a staple in the process of speeding rehabilitation post-surgery.
The most clearly successful stories of PRP providing genuine relief to patients is when the injuries being treated were acute and occurred to the various tendons of the body. Ailments like tendonitis and tennis elbow are conditions that have been treated positively by the use of PRP therapy injections.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is a promising new technique for pain management and rehabilitation that seems to encourage many who work with these types of orthopedic injuries on a day to day basis. In time, it is the hope of the doctors pioneering it that the usefulness of these injections will be proven and help many people to heal more quickly and with less pain as a symptom.
Contact AICA Orthopedics today to learn if you’re a good candidate for PRP therapy.