Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment utilises the body's own natural healing mechanisms to promote tissue repair and regeneration. This cutting edge therapy has gained popularity across various medical specialties. These include orthopaedics, sports medicine, dermatology, and cosmetic surgery, among others.
How does it work?
PRP therapy involves the extraction, concentration, and injection of a patient's own platelets. These platelets, rich in growth factors, are injected into specific areas of the body that need healing or rejuvenation.
The procedure typically begins with the collection of a small sample of the patient's blood, usually from a vein in the arm. This blood sample is then processed in a centrifuge machine. The centrifuge separates the platelets from other blood components, such as red blood cells and white blood cells. Once the platelets are concentrated, they are combined with a small amount of plasma to create the PRP solution. This is then injected directly into the target area.
Why should I do it?
The main advantage of PRP therapy is its ability to accelerate the body's natural healing processes. Platelets contain growth factors and cytokines that play essential roles in:
- tissue repair,
- the formation of new blood vessels, "angiogenesis", and
- collagen production
By delivering a high concentration of these bioactive substances to the site of injury or degeneration, PRP therapy can:
- enhance tissue regeneration,
- reduce inflammation, and
- reduce pain.
Orthopaedic specialists are among the primary healthcare providers who prescribe PRP treatment, particularly for musculoskeletal conditions including osteoarthritis, tendonitis, ligament injuries, and muscle strains. They use PRP injections to:
- promote the healing of damaged joints, tendons, and ligaments, and
- to ease pain and improve function in patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions
Sports medicine physicians recommend PRP therapy for athletes and active individuals seeking to recover from sports-related injuries or enhance their performance. PRP injections can speed up the healing process for conditions like tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, Achilles tendonitis, and rotator cuff injuries. This allows athletes to return to their sport sooner, with reduced pain, and improved functional outcomes.
- stimulates collagen production,
- improves skin texture and tone, and
- promotes hair growth by nourishing hair follicles
This makes PRP an effective treatment option for patients seeking non-surgical solutions for wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, and hair loss.
Furthermore, PRP therapy has shown promising results in other medical specialties such as:
- dentistry, for promoting tissue healing after oral surgeries), and
- gynaecology, for addressing sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence
Research into the potential applications of PRP continues to expand. Investigations exploring its efficacy in treating a wide range of conditions are ongoing.