What is PRP?

I have recently had a lot of people ask me about PRP. So what is PRP exactly and what is it used for? PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma. To state it quite simply, plasma is  the extracellular matrix of our blood that carries the cells and proteins. In other words, it is the fluid in which our blood cells are suspended. It can be obtained with the help of a centrifuge which spins the blood. This mechanism separates the heavier blood cells from the less dense platelets and plasma.

The blood is first drawn from the patient then the tube is placed in the centrifuge. It is spun for about 5-10 minutes depending on the type of centrifuge. When the tube is removed three layers can be seen- white and red blood cells at the bottom, platelets in the middle and the plasma on top. The plasma is then mixed with the platelets thus producing PRP.

Platelets are the cells in our body that are involved with the clotting of our blood, They contain numerous growth factors and cytokines that are involved with healing. Concentrating the platelets into the plasma thus produces a potent serum that can be used to stimulate healing. Not only are a number of growth factors introduced to the tissue but the plasma itself causes a new cycle of inflammation and hence increased blood flow which also contributes to the healing process.

PRP can be used for multiple things. In my practice I use it mainly for musculoskeletal injuries and problems such as arthritis and tendinopathies. However, this is not its only use. It can also be used for cosmetic procedures such as hair regrowth and PRP facials. PRP has also been used to stimulate the healing of slow healing wounds and also in many skin rejuvenation procedures.

There is strong evidence in the literature that PRP has significant benefits when it comes to healing. The best part about PRP is that it is your own body fluid and cells going back into your body so there is almost zero risk for any adverse effects such as allergic reactions.

We usually use an ultrasound machine, depending on the location of the injury, to guide us in injecting the PRP. This provides for more accuracy in getting the PRP to the exact location of the injury. After the injection one may experience some increased pain for 2-3 days or sometimes up to a week. This is due to the initial inflammation that occurs. Afterwards the pain gradually improves as the injury heals.

Hopefully this answers some of the questions that some of you may have regarding PRP and its uses. If you have any further questions or have an injury that has bothered you for some time please contact me. There is a good chance that PRP can be very beneficial to you.

 

-The Soccer Doc

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Dr. Dehkordi provides private health and fitness consultations along with many sports medicine treatments. He discusses those consultations in more depth.