Platelet Rich Plasma
PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) therapy has become a hot topic in the medical and cosmetic communities because of its wide variety of applications. From encouraging hair growth to stimulating the body’s own healing processes, PRP treatments have been tested and proven to drastically improve patient health and recovery from injuries, painful surgeries, and troubling conditions like alopecia and other forms of balding!
What is PRP Therapy?
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy is a conservative and holistic approach to increase the healing speed of damaged tissues. PRP uses super concentrated platelets and is commonly done to complement other procedures or on specific localized chronic pain issues.
When and Why Should I Consider PRP Therapy?
First and foremost, what ails you? Are you experiencing consistent and debilitating pain from something like tennis elbow, Knee pain or a rotator cuff injury? Is your body struggling to heal after a particularly intensive surgery, prolonging your pain and suffering past what should be expected? Do you have alopecia, or even just male-pattern or female-pattern baldness and want to try a nonsurgical method to regrow your own hair?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may be time to discuss PRP therapy with your physician. While it is not currently covered by most insurances (Tricare covers PRP for Elbow pain and mild to moderate knee Osteoarthritiea), PRP is still a recognized, trusted treatment option both within the United States and internationally, with several countries abroad having already decided to cover the procedure through insurance. Even Medicare had begun the discussion of adding it as a covered benefit, but political uncertainties have prevented this from happening thus far.
Keep in mind, though it is not covered, it is still affordable and significantly less expensive than most covered surgical options! Not to mention, it’s been proven to work long-term without putting patients through extensive procedures, and is currently a trusted option for professional athletes needing to recover quickly from athletic injuries.
How is PRP therapy administered?
A qualified professional will draw a small amount of blood and spin it in a centrifuge, isolating the platelets. The site of injury is then treated using the PRP preparation. PRP is carefully injected into the injured area combined with local anesthesia. This will trigger the body’s natural healing process, basically initiating the immune response.
It is expected to experience pain for the first two weeks after the procedure, however pain is reported from mild to minimal.
What Makes PRP So Effective?
Platelets are a component of your blood specifically designated to healing your body. The PRP process involves taking a sample of your own blood, using a centrifuge to increase platelet concentration over the course of about 15 minutes, and the resulting PRP is then re-injected into the body at the site of the ailment. This high concentration of healing components encourages the body to repair itself: Nerves, tendons, bones, ligaments, and even new blood vessels all benefit from the process!
There can be some soreness and mild inflammation post-injection, but there’s no need to worry. That inflammation is actually what helps the body know that healing is needed and directs growth factors and platelets to the site of injury. From there, the body produces collagen at the injection site, which then matures and reinforces the tendons, ligaments, new blood vessels, and bones in that area.
Benefits of PRP Therapy
PRP Therapy may be used to improve healing after surgery for some injuries. The ultimate goal of PRP is to eliminate pain through healing while providing results that last. Research studies have shown that PRP therapy can be effective in relieving pain and helping patients return to their normal lives.
Who May Benefit from PRP Therapy?
PRP is often used as therapy in the following conditions and may help improve the following:
- Pain due to joint arthritis of the shoulder, hip, thumb or knee
- Chronic tendonitis in the elbow, hip, knee, foot and ankle
- Tendon injuries
- Ligament sprains
- Sports related muscle tears
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Facet joint injuries inducing spinal pain
- Sciatica caused by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis
How Long Does It Take Before PRP Shows Results?
Patients will differ in this regard depending on the extent of the injury or ailment involved, but the average wait is between 2 and 6 weeks before patients begin to notice a difference in their condition and pain levels. Then, pain is noted to steadily decrease as time goes on and therapy continues, with many patients reporting little to no pain in 6 to 9 months after treatment! For patients who have tried other methods covered by insurance, like pain medication, physical therapy, and cortisone injections, this treatment can be the difference between a limited lifestyle riddled with pain and an active, fulfilling life!