WHAT IS PRP?
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is concentrated from your own blood which contains healing factors, such as white blood cells and bioactive proteins, called growth factors and stem cell markers. These cells are vital for tissue regeneration and repair. Platelets, once thought of being responsible for only clotting, have been scientifically proven to be a reservoir of these vital healing components. With advanced techniques we are able to concentrate these regenerative healing cells in a simple outpatient setting.
Image on left is Normal Platelet Count and the image on the right is PRP Platelet Count.
A small amount of peripheral blood is taken from the patient and placed into a FDA medically approved container. This sterile disposable container is placed in a specialized centrifuge, for spinning, to separate the whole blood sample into ‘layers’ of platelet rich plasma (PRP) and red blood cells. The PRP layer is aspirated from the red blood cells and is injected or applied, under sterile conditions, into the localized area of abnormality.
After centrifugation, the whole blood is separated into a PRP layer and red blood cell layer.
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LONG TERM OUTCOME
Patients can expect to see significant improvement in symptoms over the course of healing time. This procedure may eliminate the need for further invasive treatments, such as surgery or prolonged use of medications. While other treatments such as corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief and stop inflammation, PRP injections stimulate healing of the injury over a shorter time period with less side effects. Patients usually report a gradual improvement in symptoms and return of function. Many patients require two to three treatments to obtain optimal results and may even experience a dramatic return of function and relief within 2-3 months.
RECOVERY AFTER TREATMENT
The anesthetic used to numb the skin generally wears off in 1-2 hours. Mild pain and swelling may occur at the injection site. However, the majority of patients are able to return to usual activities with NO down time.
You must be particularly careful not to traumatize the area during this post-treatment time frame. Initially the procedure may cause some localized soreness and discomfort. Patients can apply ice and elevation as needed. Use the area as tolerated since restricting movement for an extended time can cause stiffening. Movement and massages promote circulation in the area and also assist with healing. After a week the patient will likely begin a rehabilitation program with physical therapy. Pain medication will be prescribed if needed.
LITTLE TO NO RISK FACTORS
PRP is from your own blood, autologous, so there is little to no risk when conducted by a trained professional. Since the cells are autologous there is no risk for an allergic or immune reaction. Side effects or complications with PRP are extremely rare.
The total process can last up to 30 minutes. However, the majority of time will be used for processing by a trained medical specialist.
THE HEALING PROCESS
PRP signals for Stem cells and regenerative cells to repair and rebuild the damaged tissue. This accelerated healing process reduces pain, promotes increased strength, and improves overall function. The process, called the healing cascade, can be active and take place over a 4-6 week period.