Platelet-rich plasma therapy is called PRP therapy or autologous conditioned plasma (ACP) therapy. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, or even bone and hair loss.
What Is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?
Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets). The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors that are very important in the healing of injuries. PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is found in the blood. To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. These platelets are then injected into the injured site.
What is a PRP injection?
After creating platelet-rich plasma from a patient’s blood sample, that solution is injected into the target area, such as an injured knee or a tendon. In some cases, ultrasound could be used to guide the injection. The idea is to increase the concentration of specific bio proteins or hormones, called growth factors, in a specific area to accelerate the healing process.
Studies suggest that the increased concentration of growth factors in platelet-rich plasma may stimulate the healing process, shortening healing time for injuries, decreasing pain, and even encouraging hair growth.
What are the purposes of PRP injections?
- It is used for loss of hair, doctors have injected PRP into the scalp to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. Since 2014, PRP injections are effective in treating androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness.
- Tendon injuries are also cured by using PRP. Tendons are tough, thick bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. They are usually slow to heal after injury. Doctors have used PRP injections to treat chronic tendon problems, such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis at the ankle, and jumper’s knee.
- Doctors have used PRP injections to treat acute sports injuries, such as pulled hamstring muscles or knee sprains.
- Sometimes doctors use PRP injections after surgery to repair a torn tendon (such as a rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder) or ligaments (such as the anterior cruciate ligament).
- PRP injections in the knee may help people with osteoarthritis. PRP injections are more effective than hyaluronic acid injections (a traditional therapy) for treating osteoarthritis.
Why should we use PRP for Hair Loss:
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) for Hair Loss is now the latest trend in hair re-growth and hair loss treatment. PRP therapy for men’s and women’s hair loss is becoming more and more common and is proving to be effective in correcting hair loss when done correctly. Researchers have found evidence that PRP can lead to renewed hair growth. Doctors and researchers also need to identify the best candidates for PRP and develop universal treatment protocols. At present, anyone with mild-to-moderate hair loss who is interested in PRP should ask a doctor whether they are likely to benefit from the treatment.
Hair loss PRP treatment steps:
PRP for hair loss is a non-surgical procedure that utilizes the stem cells and growth factors from the patient’s own blood to trigger the growth of hair from resting or miniaturized hair follicles. The first step involves drawing the patient’s blood into a 20-22cc specialized tube that is then spun down in a centrifuge for 15 minutes.
The centrifuge will separate the platelets from the rest of the blood. The final product is plasma that has been separated from the white and red blood cells. This plasma is then set aside and gravity allows the platelets to drop out of suspension and collect at the bottom of the tube. This denser area of platelets in the plasma is called Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP. This area is the key ingredient to success in any PRP procedure. The platelet-poor plasma or PPP is usually collected from the top of the tube and discarded or in some cases saved for micro-needling treatment post-PRP injection.
The platelet-rich plasma then is injected back into the scalp using one of two procedures:
- Subdermal: PRP is injected into the subcutaneous fat layer of the scalp using a longer needle with fewer injections; or,
- Dermal: PRP is injected into the scalp into the dermal layer using a shorter needle and a higher number of injections.
Side effects PRP for Hair Loss:
As the PRP solution consists of a person’s own blood components, there are few risks of a reaction to the solution itself. However, people undergoing PRP treatments for hair loss may experience the following side effects:
- Mild pain at the injection site.
- A headache.
- Temporary bleeding at the injection site.
Why should we use PRP for joint pain:
PRP is used among people for joint pain. Knee Osteoarthritis is treated with PRP. Researchers studying PRP and osteoarthritis often work with patients who have knee osteoarthritis, a condition that experts estimate will affect nearly half of all Americans at some point during their lives.
78 patients with osteoarthritis in both knees (156 knees). 11 Each knee received one of three treatments: 1 PRP injection, 2 PRP injections, or 1 placebo saline injection. Researchers evaluated the subjects’ knees 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after injection.
- Knees treated with 1 or 2 PRP injections saw a reduction in pain and stiffness as well as improvement in knee function at 6 weeks and 3 months.
- At the 6-month mark, positive results declined, though pain and function were still better than before PRP treatment.
- The group that received placebo injections saw a small increase in pain and stiffness and a decrease in knee function.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy for Arthritis :
Although not considered standard practice, a growing number of people are turning to PRP injections to treat an expanding list of orthopedic conditions, including osteoarthritis. It is most commonly used for knee osteoarthritis but may be used on other joints as well. When treating osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma, a doctor injects PRP directly into the affected joint.
The goal is to:
- Reduce pain.
- Improve joint function.
- Possibly slow, halt, or even repair damage to the cartilage.
The optimal platelet concentration for the induction of angiogenesis in human endothelial cells was 1.5 million platelets per microliter, whereas excessively high concentrations of platelets were suggested to decrease the angiogenic potential.
A mean of 1,484,555.6 platelets per microliter in the PRP preparation could effectively stimulate follicular and perifollicular angiogenesis, which is suggested to be one of the major factors in active hair growth and other authors since 2011 suggest that the injection of PRP preparations has a positive therapeutic effect on male androgenic alopecia without major side effects.
Although, PRP therapy is a controversial treatment yet it is becoming increasingly popular in sports science and dermatology. To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source has only approved the use of PRP in bone graft treatments. However, doctors may use the treatment to address a variety of other health issues.