Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy isn’t a new technique, but it is one that is being used for many different purposes. PRP is often combined with other therapies to treat specific issues, and doctors are finding it helpful in even difficult-to-treat chronic conditions such as arthritis.
At Osteopathic Center for Healing, Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, recommend PRP therapy for our patients who have injuries to soft tissues like tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or muscles, as well as to those who are looking for a solution for hair loss.
PRP therapy consists of three basic steps:
That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but describes the process. When the centrifuge separates your blood, the plasma contains a high concentration of platelets, which are special cells that help your blood clot and also contain growth factors. They trigger other healing processes in your body like cell regeneration.
The idea behind PRP therapy is to send those platelets to the exact area of your body that needs to heal so they can trigger the processes to speed along that healing. For example, if you have arthritis in your knee, we may suggest PRP injections to help the tissues in your joint heal.
Scientists first discovered the existence of platelets in the 1880s. In the 1940s, they began experimenting with platelets to promote wound healing. By the 1980s, researchers were using PRP therapy to heal damaged tissues.
Now, PRP is used very successfully for cosmetic treatments, like skin rejuvenation and for hair loss, as well as in orthopedics, to treat degenerative disorders like arthritis, and to help people heal more quickly following surgery.
Given the long history of PRP therapy, you may have already guessed that it's considered quite safe.
In fact, since the injection is composed of your own plasma, it’s safer than many other types of injections. And there’s little chance that your body will reject the plasma or that you’ll have an allergic reaction to it.
There is some very minimal risk of infection at the injection site, but that is true of any procedure that involves a needle.
As with all medical care, having a provider who you trust is important. At Osteopathic Center for Healing, we are highly trained and have given thousands of injections. Our staff is always ready to answer your questions, too.
If you think PRP therapy may be the solution to a problem you’re having, schedule an appointment at our Rockville, Maryland, center today.