What Is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is plasma protein derived from the patient’s own blood that goes through centrifuging to remove red blood cells. As it is a concentrate of plasma, has a higher amount of growth factors and is used to help regenerate soft tissue and healing. Platelet-rich plasma can treat sports injuries, including torn ligaments and tendons, skeletal fractures, strained muscles, sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries.
A PRP injection is made of plasma enriched with platelets. Human blood consists of liquid plasma and other components which include platelets and red and white blood cells. Platelets help with blood clotting but also have proteins known as growth factors. These proteins play an important role in regeneration and the re-growth of tissues.
Platelet-rich plasma contains as estimated ten times more than the normal concentration of growth factors and platelets in normal blood.
How Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Work?
Before the platelet-rich plasma is prepared, blood is drawn from the patient and the platelets are separated during the centrifugation process. Once it is done, the platelet-rich plasma is combined with the remaining blood. The combination is injected with a needle into the injured area. A local anesthetic may also be included with the platelet-rich plasma.
The entire process usually takes about one to two hours. The pain at the injection site may increase after the procedure but it declines in a few days. The patient may not feel the full benefits of the treatment for several weeks.
Platelet-rich plasma injection side effects and risks
The most common side effect of the procedure is tenderness at the site of the injection. That is why you should minimize activity for at least one day following the procedure. There are general risks of skin puncture associated with contamination and infection. But since a PRP injection is made with the patient’s own blood, the risk of these complications is very low.