During recent years, we have seen a rapid expansion of our understanding of stem cells and a particular preparation called platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Many famous athletes including Tiger Woods have received PRP injections for various musculoskeletal problems and some have credited it with their accelerated healing and more rapid return to play.
PRP is plasma, the liquid part of your blood, concentrated with many more platelets than typically found there. Platelets are known for their importance in clotting blood, but they also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors. These chemicals are responsible for the cascade of events naturally involved in the repair of body tissues. They ultimately attract and activate your own innate stem cells which play a critical role in the healing process.
Where Does The Platelet-Rich Plasma Come From?
Typically, PRP is isolated from your own blood drawn in the office while you wait. The highly concentrated growth factors can be delivered back into the body at the site of interest. It’s been used mostly for musculoskeletal problems such as sprained knees, osteoarthritis, and chronic tendon injuries. These types of conditions have previously required medications, physical therapy, or even surgery to treat.
Some studies suggest PRP injections may promote new cartilage formation in sever arthritic joints and can even put off replacement surgery. It seems to be most effective in the treatment of chronic tendon injuries, especially tennis elbow, a very common injury of the tendons on the outside of the elbow. Previously, cortisone injections were the standard for this condition, but unlike PRP such steroids would ultimately weaken the tendon.
How PRP Can Be Used To Improve Healing After Surgery
PRP may also be used to improve healing after surgery for some injuries. For example, an athlete with a completely torn heel cord may require surgery to repair the tendon. Healing of the torn tendon can possibly be improved by treating the injured area with PRP during surgery. This is done by preparing the PRP in a special way that allows it to actually be stitched into torn tissues.
Contact Peak Health For Questions About PRP Injections Today!
More recently, PRP is being employed extensively to help us look better too. The same way they help tissues repair from injury or surgery, the growth factors found in PRP can help regenerate aging skin. The so-called “vampire facial” made famous by Hollywood starlets is actually PRP injected into the facial skin. Today we use a technique called micro-needling. A cluster of tiny needles that barely penetrate the skin can deliver PRP more evenly and efficiently with minimal discomfort. For any questions or concerns about use PRP injections as a form of treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact Peak Health Group for more information!