An Overview of Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

What Are The Purposes of PRP Injections?

Platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP, is a treatment used to promote healing and stimulate hair growth when injected. Plasma is a part of your blood that contains special growth and healing factors, or proteins, that help your blood clot and support cellular growth. The treatment works by injecting PRP into damaged tissues to stimulate your body to grow new, healthy cells while also promoting healing. PRP Therapy is being used in a variety of medical applications. Some examples of these include the following:

Hair loss:
PRP has been used by injections into the scalp to stimulate hair growth while also preventing hair loss. Research has shown that PRP injections are an effective way of treating androgenic alopecia, also known as male/female pattern baldness.

Acute injuries:
For decades doctors have also been using platelet-rich plasma injections to treat acute sports injuries such as pulled hamstring muscles or knee sprains.


PRP Injection Process

Tendon injuries: Tendons are the tough, thick bands of tissue in our bodies that connect the muscles to bone. They typically are very slow to heal following an injury. Doctors have been using PRP treatments to help stimulate healing in chronic tendon problems, such as jumper’s knee, tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis , and/or pain in the patellar tendon of the knee.

Post-surgical repair: Sometimes doctors have used PRP treatments following surgery to repair a torn tendon (such as a rotator cuff) or ligaments (ACL).

Here’s what to expect from a typical PRP injection process:

1. A sample of your blood is drawn. The amount of the sample necessary depends on where the PRP will be used. For example, the proper amount of blood necessary for hair loss treatments is 22 ml.

2. The tube of blood is then placed into a centrifuge. A centrifuge is a machine that spins around very quickly, causing the blood components to separate. The separation process takes about 10 minutes.

3. The separated plasma is prepared for injection into the affected area.

4. Multiple injections of PRP are selectively placed in the area of concern to make sure that the area is “bathed” in the PRP.

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What Are The Potential Side Effects of PRP Treatments?

Because PRP treatments involve injecting a substance into the skin, there are some risks of potential side effects. PRP contains substances that come directly from your own body. This drastically reduces the risks for any allergic reaction that can occur from injecting other medications, such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are risks from the injection itself, including:

• infection
• pain and/or swelling at the injection site
• tissue and/or nerve damage

All of these risks should be taken into consideration before any treatment that involves injections.

What Is The Recovery Time for PRP Treatments?

When a PRP treatment is done following an injury, your doctor may recommend that you rest the affected area. However, these recommendations are directly related to the injury and not the PRP treatments. Most people can return to their daily activities after a PRP treatment. Because PRP treatments are intended to stimulate healing and growth, you may not notice an immediate result following the treatment. However, after a few weeks or months, you may start to notice that the area is healing faster or growing more hair than you would have expected if you hadn’t received the PRP treatment.

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