You might be fascinated by the ever-youthful faces of actors you grew up watching who look like they are still in the prime of their youth or by athletes recovering from significant injuries at superhuman speed. Behind their age-defying appearances and remarkable recoveries lies a well-kept secret: platelet-rich plasma injections.
The blood in our body is composed of different cells and components floating in a liquid called plasma. In it, platelets (thrombocytes) are responsible for blood clotting at the injury site. This clot is the initial stage of healing an injury to the body.
Platelet-rich plasma injection therapy involves withdrawing your blood and centrifuging it at high speed to separate the platelets from plasma, increase its concentration and re-inject it into the body to enhance your body’s natural healing mechanism. In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about the PRP treatment.
How Does a PRP Injection Work
When the plasma enriched with platelets is injected into your damaged body tissues, it accelerates the growth of new, healthy cells at the site. Your body’s healing process becomes faster as the activated platelets stimulate growth factors to increase the number of reparative cells produced by your body.
Tissues with limited blood flow, like tendons and cartilage, take a long time to heal because of inadequate nutrition and reparative factors. PRP aims to stimulate these tissues’ healing and regenerative potential or increase the recovery speed. You will be able to observe a marked difference at the site of the damage within three to six months of injecting PRP as the immediate post-therapy symptoms like pain and swelling subside in a few weeks, improving the strength and function of the tissue.
PRP therapy plays a significant role in forming new blood vessels in tissue and directing regenerative proteins and cells to migrate to the area of injury to initiate healing by the growth of new cells. You can refer to professionals like Selphyl and their team of competent doctors to provide you with safe and effective PRP treatments.
Applications of PRP Injections
PRP therapy is used in a wide range of treatments. For instance, you can use it for hair transplant procedures. Here, it stimulates hair follicles and arrests baldness patterns and hair thinning problems.
You can also use PRP injections in cosmetic procedures to treat skin issues like wrinkles, photodamage, and skin aging. A popular procedure is PRP micro-needling therapy, commonly known as the vampire facial. It works by rejuvenating and tightening skin through cell renewal. You can reap great results by using PRP in combination with facelift procedures. Apart from its applications in aesthetics, it is also used to accelerate wound healing in patients suffering from:
- Bed sores
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Skin grafting
- First and second-degree burns
- Post-traumatic scars
- Surgical wounds
- Superficial injuries
It has a prevalent use in sports medicine and dentistry. Prominent athletes are known to have saved their careers by using PRP injections for rapid recovery from sports injuries. For example, Tennis star, Maria Sharapova, used these injections for a shoulder injury, Hines Ward for a knee injury, and Allie Ostrander for an Achilles injury.
Side Effects and Complications
PRP itself does not pose any danger of adverse effects because it is an autologous procedure, meaning it originates from your body’s substances. You may suffer from some post-procedure effects, including temporary pain and swelling.
A risk of infection may arise if you fail to maintain sterile conditions at the site of blood withdrawal and reinsertion. Patients with thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), acute and chronic infections, liver diseases, and heart diseases are strongly discouraged from using PRP to avoid severe complications and reactions.
PRP is a modern procedure with many exciting aspects, such as the modification and use of your blood to enhance your body’s natural healing mechanism and its swift and effective action that is no less than a magic trick. It is a relatively safe procedure with a long list of applications and is undergoing further research and studies to unlock its full potential.