Human blood consists mainly of the liquid based plasma along with small solid components, which include Red Blood cells, White Blood cells and platelets. The platelets help in the clotting of blood and they are rich in proteins called growth factors, which helps in the healing process.
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is the plasma with higher concentration of platelets than normally found in the blood. The concentration of platelets in PRP is around 5 to 10 times higher, when compared to normal blood.
The first step is to draw blood from the patient, and then the platelets are separated from the other blood cells. The concentration of platelets is then increased by using the process of centrifugation.
First Spin: Plasma separated from RBCs
Second Spin: Lower 1/3rd is PRP concentrate
What is PRP Therapy?
The increased concentration of the growth factors present in the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) helps in speeding up the healing process. The PRP is applied to the injured area to speed up the healing. This can be administered using the following processes:
By Direct Injection into the Injured Area: The PRP is injected into the injured area. In the case of Achilles Tendonitis, a mixture of PRP and local anesthetic is injected directly to the swollen region. There might be pain for one or two days and then the patient can feel the beneficial effects in a couple of weeks.
PRP preparation injected into the knee joint.
During and After Surgery: PRP can help some injuries to heal after the surgery. In some cases like a patient with a torn tendon can have improved healing if the injured area is treated with PRP during surgery. The PRP is actually stitched into the torn tissues for greater effect.
Who needs PRP Therapy?
The PRP therapy is administered to patients after keeping the following factors in mind:
The location of the injury
Health of the patient
Severity of the injury whether it is acute or chronic.
Some of the injuries which can benefit from the quick healing properties of PRP are:
Chronic Tendon Injuries
For example, the inflammation of the Patellar tendon at the knee or the Jumper’s knee can be healed using PRP.
Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries
These types of injuries include pulled hamstring muscles and knee sprains and are usually associated with professional athletes and other sports persons. PRP has been administered in many sports person with similar injuries with high success rate of healing.
Administering of PRP to the injured areas like ACL during surgeries has beneficial effects in some patients.
PRP administration for treating knee arthritis is another example of this therapy.
There have been cases of the administration of PRP to fractures.