Platelet-rich plasma is a mixture of blood, often sourced from the original patient, in which the concentration of platelets in comparison to red blood cells found within the sample is reversed. Normally, blood contains a high percentage of red blood cells, and less than 10% platelet count. By reversing these percentages, doctors and patients can take advantage of the regenerative power of platelets. While studies are still underway for many uses of platelet-rich plasma therapy, the successes seen in the medical field are promising.
Where does platelet-rich plasma come from?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy has a major advantage over other treatment plans – the source of the therapeutic treatment lies in the patient. Platelet-rich therapy is generally an outpatient treatment, and the entire procedure should take less than two hours.
When the patient arrives, their blood will be drawn. The most common way to prepare for the procedure, is to place the drawn blood in a centrifuge which spins it into separate layers. One layer contains red blood cells, another white blood cells, and still another with plasma. Then, the technician or doctor prepares the injection for the patient by removing the red blood cells, leaving only the potent mix of platelet-rich plasma.
How does platelet-rich plasma work?
Due to the regenerative properties of platelets, this up-and-coming treatment is like giving a super-boost to its target treatment area. The powerful plasma, which is pumped full of platelets at numbers that would be impossible to achieve without medical intervention, works to regenerate damaged cells to enable fast and more complete healing. Further study of the processes and results will give us more answers on the specific mechanisms that make platelet-rich plasma effective in the treatment of degenerative disease and the slowing of normal aging.
What can platelet-rich plasma do?
Platelet-rich plasma has an abundance of uses in the medical, and health and beauty arenas. One of the original and most popular uses for platelet-rich plasma is cosmetic facial enhancement. The platelet-rich plasma is thought to halt the aging process by increasing volume and decreasing the appearance of wrinkles, and regenerate epithelial cells with the purpose of revealing younger-looking skin.
Nevertheless, the uses for platelet-rich plasma are more than skin deep. The therapies in use, and being studied, have tremendous implications for the treatment of painful conditions and injuries.
For example, professional athletes have been trusting platelet-rich plasma therapies to help them return to work quickly, missing as little of the season as possible, when faced with injuries that require surgical procedures.
It’s not just athletes who benefit from the fast healing power of platelet-rich plasma. Patients all over the world, who suffer from chronic pain, with conditions like osteoarthritis, and injuries like meniscus tears, have felt the beneficial healing power of the therapy.
In a world overrun by prescription painkillers, finding other remedies is a prime goal of healthcare providers around the nation. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is one of the most promising technological advancements in medicine that can be used to help manage painful conditions, and even provide a cure. It should be a top consideration of anyone seeking pain management.
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Schwarz, A. A Promising Treatment for Athletes, in Blood [World Wide Web site]. The New York Times. February 16, 2009 [cited April 21, 2017]. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/sports/17blood.html.
Wilson, J.J.MD. PRP Injection Preparation and Composition [World Wide Web site]. Arthritis-health. January 7, 2014 [cited April 21, 2017]. Available at http://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/injections/prp-injection-preparation-and-composition.