Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Overview
There’s a slew of celebrity athletes that swear by certain methods of health care. Some are total quackery, based on trendy things that one star found to be ‘cool’ or something they were paid to endorse. Not every celebrity cares about their fans when it comes to what the celebrity recommends, but quite often you’ll find athletes using the same methods they evangelize. Platelet Rich Plasma Injections are one of these procedures where athletes talk the talk and walk the walk.
What Are Platelet Rich Plasma Injections?
Also know as PRP injections, platelet rich plasma injections are used to help the body heal itself after an injury. Platelets are among the specific cells that the body uses to heal, along with stem cells and natural growth factors. While platelets are not the only cells in the blood, they’re absolutely critical when healing must occur.
The PRP injections contain up to ten times the normal amount of healing cells found in the blood. Using a concentration process, these injections are created from the body’s own blood. There’s no chance of rejection since your cells are used. Not only is the risk of any side effect significantly reduced, their effectiveness is increased.
Where Is It Used?
Platelet rich plasma injections can be used anywhere there has been a soft tissue injury. The majority of studies on PRP treatments has focused on soft tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, and other tissues), but there has been some indication that bone can benefit from the healing properties of PRP injections.
Where there has been an injury, PRP is injected directly. This procedure places the nutrients right where it is needed and gives the body a concentrated amount of healing cells to work with. This theoretically allows he body to heal faster since all of the needed building blocks have been presented at the injury site. Stress on the body and injured area is reduced as there is no need to create more healing cells – an extra amount is given from another part of the body. Just a little blood can supply a concentration of nutrients that can kickstart the healing process.
It is used in patients where other therapies have not provided relief. Patients with joint or tendon problems may see a significant increase in their relief when PRP is used instead of other injections that can be associated with more side effects or even allergic reactions.
What About Pain?
Chronic pain is often the result of slow healing injuries or processes that have arisen due to non-healing of illness or damage. Normally the body doesn’t create such a high number of platelets or other healing cells which means that the healing process brought about by the PRP injections can help soothe the chronic pain from slow or non-healing issues.
As a non-surgical method of treatment, PRP was first introduced in 1987 as a wound healing facilitation. People suffering from tendon or ligament injuries often find that PRP helps reduce their pain by speeding the healing process. Injuries from sports is one common area that practitioners see an application for platelet rich plasma injections. Athletes from all types of sports – professional and casual – have used PRP injections to help them get back in the game.
If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, you may benefit from PRP injections. There’s been some new theories in using PRP for the chronic pain arthritis sufferers face.
How is the Procedure Done?
Prior to the treatment a small amount of blood is drawn. A centrifuge is then used to spin your blood and separate it into its many components. Plasma is just one o those components. This plasma, which is rich in platelets, is drawn into a syringe and then injected into the injured site or area where your pain is stemming from.
This is an outpatient procedure and has no downtime. This means that you can have this procedure in the office then go to work or elsewhere without needing time for recovery. You needn’t worry about allergic reaction since the plasma is your own. Side effects are minimal, usually the only real side effect is soreness at the site of injection. When the area becomes sore this is usually an indicator that healing has begun.