You may have recently heard about something called platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP therapy, because it has become one of fastest growing sectors of regenerative medicine for things like tendon and ligament tears, chronic muscle pain, and other types of treating orthopedic injuries. If you’re dealing with one of these injuries yourself, you may even be wondering if PRP therapy is the right choice for your own injury therapy — but if you’re like most people, you probably aren’t really sure what this type of regenerative medicine actually entails.
Here are just a few of the most common questions that people ask about PRP therapy:
- What is PRP therapy anyway? You probably already know that blood is made of plasma (liquid), red cells, white cells, and platelets; the platelets in your blood are what allows it to clot after your skin is cut or scraped. Platelets also allow your body to heal, though, and so they’re used in regenerative medicine in order to treat injuries.
- How does it work? After blood is drawn from a patient and the platelets are separated, the concentrated high-platelet plasma is injected into the injured area (sometimes PRP is included during a surgical procedure as well, in order to quicken a person’s healing time). The PRP can be injected into nearly any injured or inflamed tissue and is commonly used for muscle and tendon injuries in ankles, knees, and shoulders.
- How effective is PRP, and are there any side effects? For chronic tissue damage and pain, PRP therapy can be incredibly effective. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why platelets help the healing process so much, but there’s no doubt that these special cells can help a person tremendously especially if he or she is otherwise in good health and has a strong chance of recovering with physical therapy. Its effectiveness depends on the type of injury a patient has sustained, and it may be just one piece of the healing process — but it’s safe, there are very minimal risks involved, and it’s a more natural alternative to other medicine-focused therapies.