Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, a type of regenerative medicine, provides a biological boost during healing and is growing in popularity because of its effectiveness. This treatment has been used by many professional and elite athletes and is increasingly being featured by the media.
What is PRP?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is contained within a person’s own blood and is a concentration of platelets – a specific type of cell that circulate throughout the blood, providing a critical role in blood clotting. Another important fact about platelets is that they, along with the liquid plasma in the blood, contain proteins and other factors that are essential to the healing process.
The process to collect PRP first involves taking a blood sample from the patient. That blood is then put into a centrifuge; a machine that spins the blood to separate it into its various components. Once out of the centrifuge, the practitioner is then able to collect the platelet-rich plasma to prepare it for injection into the injured area of the patient, which could be soft tissue, a ligament or bone.
PRP Treatment Protocols
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment protocols are individual and will be different for each patient. Determining factors are the severity of injury, the patient’s immune system as well as their individual needs. Typically, on average, PRP treatment involves 2 – 6 sessions, given 4 –6 weeks apart. Many patients will see significant improvement after 2 treatments. Chronic injuries, and severe injuries, will require longer courses of treatment.
The patient plays a key role in the effectiveness of PRP and the healing process. The Doctor will encourage optimal nutrition, supplementation, stress management, sufficient sleep, as well as exercise rehabilitation. Note: After the injection, there is a short period of time where the patient will be required to avoid exercise, before beginning the process of exercise rehabilitation.
All of the above are key to optimizing the patient response to PRP treatments.
What Conditions Does PRP Treat?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are most effective for various types of musculoskeletal pain and can be used in the treatment of a number of concerns such as:
- Joint pain and dysfunction in the following areas:
- Sports Injuries
- Labral or meniscal tears
- Joint Degeneration
- Degenerated discs
- Pain or injury that has been unresponsive to other RIT (prolotherapy, neural prolotherapy, etc.)
During the weeks and months following PRP treatment, as the body regenerates and repairs itself, patients find that they regain mobility and comfort in their joints. Many patients notice a significant improvement in just a few weeks. Improvements continue over the next six months as the body continues to generate and build new, healthy tissue.
PRP VS Prolotherapy
There are a number of similarities between PRP therapy and Prolotherapy. Both treatments are classified as regenerative medicine. Both promote and accelerate the natural healing process within the body to reduce pain and generate new, healthy tissue. The differences between the two are found within the specifics:
- PRP injections use a component of the patient’s own blood to promote the regeneration and healing. Once injected, the platelets within the PRP work to rebuild the damaged tissue.
- In Prolotherapy, there are also injections that facilitate tissue regrowth, but the key difference is in the injected substance. With Prolotherapy, a solution (typically glucose based) is injected into the injured area. The purpose of this injection is to cause a slight irritation at the site of the injury, which stimulates the body’s natural, regenerative healing process.
Both PRP and Prolotherapy can effectively treat injuries and chronic conditions, which the Doctor will assess and recommend the best treatment plan for the individual patient.