Medical breakthroughs in the past decade have brought wonderful opportunities for people with certain medical conditions. The PRP injection is one that is quickly turning mainstream. What is it? How does it work, and why would someone need it? We’ll go over all of this plus the benefits of PRP injections below.
Doctors, knowing that your body can heal itself, wanted to speed this process along. To do so, they came up with PRP injections or platelet-rich plasma therapy. This is a branch of regenerative medicine. It works by harnessing your body’s own natural healing abilities and amping up the natural growth factors your body creates to heal itself.
The liquid portion of your blood is plasma. It contains a specific mix of proteins and water. Plasma’s function is to provide a vessel for your body’s white and red blood cells and platelets to make their way through your body. Thrombocytes (platelets) are the tiny blood cells that promote healing and growth functions like clotting. Activating these platelets is key to triggering your body’s natural healing response.
Defining PRP Injections
PRP (platelet-rich) plasma therapy utilizes injections that contain the patient’s platelets. The injections speed up the healing process of any injured joints, muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Since the platelets come directly from the patient, these injections use the patient’s natural healing system to improve common problems with the muscles and skeletal system.
A medical professional prepares these injections by taking one or several vials of blood and putting the blood through a centrifuge. This machine concentrates the platelets very quickly and stimulates the healing response. Then, they inject the now active platelets directly into the diseased or injured tissue.
How Do The Platelets Help With The Healing Process
When the platelets get to the injured or diseased area, they prompt your body to release growth factors. Growth factors increase and stimulate the number of reparative cells your body can produce. It’s common to use an ultrasound to guide the initial injection process. The platelets act like directors for the stem cells in your body. They direct the stem cells to the injury site and have them start repairing the damage. If the damage isn’t severe, this process can happen naturally without using PRP injections.
The relief and repair process isn’t an instant fix; it won’t happen overnight as it can with steroid injections. It takes weeks or even months to notice marked differences. However, steroids can lead to tissue breakdown and trigger bigger problems. PRP injections therapy helps your body grow new tissue and naturally heal any damage.