Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Plasma (blood) contains many solid components, red cells, white cells, stem cells and platelets.
Platelets are considered a cell fragment as they have no nucleus like red and white blood cells. They are best known for their importance of clotting blood. They contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors and are deeply involved in tissue repair, helping to form clots to fix a leaky blood vessel and containing a number of growth factors that signal and stimulate stem cell proliferation and remodeling – enhancing healing. They are an agent that promotes healing of tissue that, many times, are difficult to heal.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is plasma with many (rich) more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets and thereby, the concentration of growth factors can be 5 to 10 times greater (richer) than usual.
PRP was initially used for orthopedic problems and was extended to the pain for those same orthopedic issues, to wound healing in general. Platelets can be used by themselves or in conjunction with stem cells.
From a medical perspective, it is a natural product, coming from the patient themselves with little or no allergic reactions or harmful side effects.
Bones, cartilage, and tendons have poor blood supplies compared to other tissue. As a result, all the cellular benefits necessary for healing transported through the blood have difficulty getting to these tissues, and healing is slowed. The same is true for what vascular surgeons would describe as “non-healing” wounds of the legs, where again the blood supply is compromised as is the healing. Another indication for PRP is in the treatment of pain associated with those orthopedic injuries, which hurt and do not always respond to non-steroidal or steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).