Platelet Rich Plasma
Human blood predominately contains plasma; however blood also has other components within it. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets all have a very important purpose in the blood. Platelets have great importance in clotting blood for injured tissues. Each platelet contains hundreds of growth factors that help heal injuries. Platelet Rich Plasma consists of a high concentration of platelets in blood. To get Platelet Rich Plasma, an orthopedic specialist or physiatrist takes blood from a patients and uses a machine called a centrifuge to spin the blood. When the blood spins at a fast pace, the plasma and blood cells separate. This leaves the plasma highly concentrated with platelets and therefore highly concentrated with growth factor proteins. Once a medical provider obtains the sample, they can inject it into the area of injury in order to promote better and faster healing. In specific cases, doctors can use PRP to avoid surgery. In other cases, doctors can use PRP to aid in the healing process following surgery.
Small colorless cell fragments present in the blood, plates form in the bone marrow. Platelets freely pass through the bloodstream in a resting state; However, when an injury occurs the platelets activate and start to gather at the injury site to release beneficial proteins called Growth Factors. This process starts the healing process whenever an injury to any type of tissue in the human body occurs.
How doctors obtain platelet rich plasma
A concentration of platelets and growth factors from a small amount of an individuals own blood or bone marrow creates Platelet Rich Plasma. A sample of an individuals blood or bone marrow goes through a rapid spinning machine called a centrifuge that separates and concentrates the platelets and other beneficial growth factors from the blood. PRP can contain 5-10x the normal amount of platelets which in turn has 5-10x the concentration of growth factors.
BENEFITS OF PRP IN ORTHOPEDICS
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) mimics the body’s natural healing process. Once injury occurs in the body, platelets gather at the injury site to begin the healing process. Platelet Rich Plasma allows a concentrated amount of platelets to gather at the site. The increased levels of platelets lead to increased growth factors which have the potential to improve signaling and recruitment of cells to promote quicker and efficient healing.
AOA Orthopedic Specialists primarily uses Platelet Rich Plasma in two ways: To delay or prevent surgery, or to use in conjunction with surgery.
- Doctors inject Platelet Rich Plasma into the injured area paired with a local anesthetic. This may cause increased pain in the area of injection for a week or two, but will then subside and the patient will start to feel the benefits.
- Platelet Rich Plasma used in conjunction with surgery typically gets injected once the surgeon has completed the repair. In this instance, the doctor can inject the Platelet Rich Plasma into the area once they finish the procedure. In addition, the doctor can prepare the Platelet Rich Plasma in a special way that allows the physician to stitch the Platelet Rich Plasma into the torn tissues to promote quicker and stronger healing.
CONDITIONS TREATED WITH PRP
Orthopedic physicians can currently treat a variety of orthopedic conditions using Platelet Rich Plasma. The All-Star Orthopedists at AOA Orthopedic Specialists let patients know up front whether or not Platelet Rich Plasma may help their injury. Some determining factors of whether or not Platelet Rich Plasma may help a patient include:
- The area of the body being treated
- The overall health of the patient
- Whether or not the injury is acute or chronic
Injuries that doctors can potentially treat with Platelet Rich Plasma include the following:
- Chronic Tendon Injuries
- Acute Ligament and Muscle Injuries
- Knee Arthritis
- Promoting Healing following Surgery
Every individual has unique anatomy. Platelet Rich Plasma may help certain people and not others. Patients can always ask a doctor about a procedure and ask their opinion on it but must understand what may work for some does not always work for others. The physicians at AOA Orthopedic Specialists always try to factor in what the patient desires but ultimately make the best medical decision based on the their expertise.