PLATELET-RICH PLASMA (PRP)
PRP is loaded with growth factors and is proven effective in repairing damaged joint tissue such as cartilage, discs, tendons and ligaments, and muscles. The remodeling phase occurs during the first six weeks after receiving the injection. The regeneration phase happens around week six and can last up to 9 months later.
Read below to learn more details.
What is PRP, and How Can It Help Me?
You may have heard about athletes like golf legend Tiger Woods, NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, or NBA legends like Kobe Bryant and Brandon Roy getting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to heal their injuries. More and more professional athletes are beginning to understand how their “own” blood can help them recover from injuries and have turned to PRP injections for relief. This treatment is not new, but over the past couple of years, the protocol for the procedure has been perfected, and the results have been better than ever.
Let’s talk about PRP –
What It Is and What It’s Not
PRP is not a “quick fix” solution for your pain. PRP treatment may likely take up to 8 weeks for you to see the healing benefits of the procedure. Think about it this way, if you cut your arm, you wouldn’t expect it to heal in a few days, would you? It takes time for the tissue to heal and regenerate.
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is one of the most popular non-invasive regenerative medicine options for healing damaged tissue. At Hope Health & Wellness, we have used PRP injections to help hundreds of patients suffering from chronic pain. We see phenomenal results with our patients suffering from joint pain and lower back and neck pain.
What is Plasma, and What are Platelets?
Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood. It is mainly composed of water and proteins and provides a medium for redblood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to circulate through the body.
Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are blood cells that cause blood clots and other necessary growth-healing functions. Platelet activation plays a vital role in the body’s natural healing process.
These activated platelets are injected into your injured or diseased body tissue or joint. This releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells your body produces.
Essentially, PRP is blood plasma that contains a high platelet concentration.
Platelets contain Growth Factors that help repair and regenerate damaged tissue.
Platelets contain over 30 bioactive proteins that are used in the healing of human body tissue. In addition, they secrete seven protein growth factors that trigger the process of wound healing. Finally, PRP contains three types of proteins that allow cells to adhere to one another, another critical healing process.
The various processes through which PRP treatments activate healing are highly complex. In the simplest terms, PRP injections activate the same processes the body normally uses but are amplified many times over.
Platelets suppress inflammation cells and enhance cellular growth, while growth factors activate the healing of bone and soft tissue.
How is Platelet-Rich Plasma obtained?
The FDA-Approved Process
PRP comes from a person’s “own” blood cells and is easily obtained by drawing a small amount of blood from your arm using a special PRP kit. A PRP kit is essential for getting and preparing the blood sample so it can be processed properly to ensure accurate results. At Hope Health & Wellness, we use an FDA-cleared PRP kit because results matter. Dr’s not using an FDA-cleared kit will not get nearly the same outstanding results. Typically a PRP kit uses a larger test tube and includes an adapter for finer plasma filtering.
The blood is then put in a special centrifuge. A centrifuge for separating blood for PRP has larger holes toaccommodate the larger test tube and spins at half the speed of a regular centrifuge used for lab work. The centrifuge spinning process is probably the most crucial part of preparing the blood for PRP use. The blood must spin in a centrifuge that spins at 1600 rpm for 8 minutes. Blood for standard lab work spins at 3200 rpm for 15 minutes. This will allow for an ideal separation o
f blood particles to obtain the highest concentration of “rich plasma accurately”. Spinning the blood at this precise speed enables the blo
od to separate into Red Blood Cells (RBC), “Buffy Coat,” Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Platelet Poor Plasma (PPP). Spinning the blood at this lower speed with larger test tubes allows for better separation and a thicker “Buffy Coat,” the growth factors that improve healing. A buffy coat is a mix of Cytokines, lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes, and platelets isolated from plasma (the soldiers of the immune system).
The centrifuge we use at Hope Health & Wellness for our Regenerative Medicine is designed to spin at theprecise speed (1600 rpm) to systematically separate the particles of your blood into the components best suited to obtain the finest and most abundant amount of rich plasma and “buffy coat.” If the blood is spun too fast or too slow, the separation may be inadequate, the specimen may be damaged, and you won’t obtain enough rich plasma.
The PRP and the Buffy Coat are then extracted from the test tube using the special PRP kit and tool to ensure that you extract ALL of the PRP and Buffy Coat.
The Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and buffy coat are combined with a special activating ingredient. Activation is a crucial step in effective platelet-rich plasma (PRP) protocols. Platelet activation with calcium chloride or thrombin is an essential step influencing bioactive molecules available for tissue healing.
Activation occurs after centrifugation and initiates the platelet degranulation process. Platelet degranulation releases bioactive proteins known as growth factors which increase cell mitosis, angiogenesis, chondrogenesis, and chemotaxis.
Once the PRP and buffy coat have been activated, you must inject the area within 5 minutes. Once PRP isactivated (fibrinogen-fibrin), a fibrin network forms, solidifying the plasma and creating a fibrin clot or membrane. This is what helps coat the injured tissue that promotes the healing phase.
The platelets in the blood play critical roles in tissue healing. Platelets contain many growth factors that help reduce and prevent chronic inflammation and swelling, produce new blood vessels to encourage healing, improve cell-to-cell communication, recruit additional healing cells to the area, and much more.
In most cases, the process takes about an hour to complete, and the procedure is minimally invasive. It does not require long recovery times, unlike many surgical procedures often used to repair damage from sports injuries.
We recommend limiting your physical activity to 40% for the first six weeks and 80% for the next two weeks. After a total of 8 weeks of limitations, you should be able to resume full activity level.
What Conditions are best treated with
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy?
PRP injections effectively treat partially torn tendons and ligaments, tendinitis, muscle injuries, arthritis-related pain, and joint injuries. PRP has been beneficial in reducing pain and regenerating joint damage to the following areas:
- Sacroiliac Joints
- Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniations
How Do PRP Treatments Improve Healing?
Platelets contain healing agents, or “growth factors.” Let’s look at some of the growth factors and what they do:
- Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a protein that helps control cell growth and division, especially in blood vessels. When more blood (and the oxygen it carries) is delivered to the site of a wound, there is more healing.
- Transforming growth factor-beta (or TGF-β) is a polypeptide and is essential in tissue regeneration.
- Insulin-like growth factors are signaling agents. They help change the environment of the damaged joint from diseased to healing by “signaling” the immune system to start rebuilding tissue.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an essential protein that brings healing oxygen to damaged tissue where blood circulation might be damaged or inadequate.
- Epidermal growth factor plays a crucial role in tissue repair mechanisms.
Does the FDA approve PRP Therapy?
Because PRP is technically considered a “biologic” under FDA definitions and because devices are used to prepare PRP, the government agency is intimately involved in both clearance and approval for PRP treatments and devices used to make PRP.
Right now, the majority of devices used to prepare PRP are cleared by the FDA. As for PRP treatments themselves, because they use a person’s blood and are not considered to be “drugs,” the treatments are not subject to FDA approval before practitioners can use them.
It’s important to understand that many procedures and treatments widely used in clinical settings are not approved by the FDA but are allowed because they are listed as being “cleared” for use. This is the situation with both PRP therapies and the devices, centrifuges, that are used to prepare PRP samples.
There is also no FDA approval for sports-related PRP treatments. Even so, one of the most common PRP treatments in current use is in sports medicine and the effective treatment of sports injuries. PRP’s potential to bring about faster healing is why many people turn to it after a sport-related injury.
Currently, FDA approval is pending for the treatment of tendonitis with injections. However, in the case of diabetic ulcers that resist healing and in some instances of orthopedic surgery, the FDA has approved PRP treatment regimens.
What’s the “bottom line” about PRP and FDA approval? Where the treatment is used in surgical and/or medical management, the FDA certainly does not object to the treatment. That’s why it can be said that both the treatment and the device used to prepare PRP are both “cleared” by the FDA rather than “approved.” PRP is a natural substance that comes from the human body. It is not a “drug.” Perhaps that’s why there has been confusion among some members of the treatment community and the public about this issue. The “D” in “FDA” stands for “drug.” Because platelet-rich plasma is not a drug, practitioners are legally and ethically allowed to use PRP therapy for the good of their patients.
PRP Can treat
Jumpers Knee/Knee Pain
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We offer the most innovative technology and techniques in the field to get faster results for your recovery.
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Regenerative Medicine for Disc and Joint Pain Relief Developed by Dr. Hope