Platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP, is a treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular in dermatology and sports science. It’s a human blood-based treatment commonly used to help wounds heal and treat sports injuries. Some doctors also use it as a cosmetic procedure to target signs of aging, such as encouraging hair growth.
Platelets are blood cells that form blood clots to stop bleeding and support cell growth. It’s the liquid part of the blood, mostly made of water and protein. PRP uses a person’s blood platelet to treat their wounds, injuries, and conditions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of PRP in bone graft treatments, but as mentioned earlier, doctors may also use them to treat other health issues. However, other medical professionals oppose its use outside its approved medicinal uses. Learn more about this controversial treatment in this blog.
How PRP works
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is administered through injections. To prepare a PRP injection, a medical professional will take a sample of the patient’s blood. Then, its component parts will be separated using a centrifuge, one of which is PRP. After that, the plasma will be extracted and prepared for administration.
A research study on PRP published in 2020 suggests that injecting inflammation areas or damaged tissues with high concentrations of platelets can encourage new tissue growth and promote cellular healing. Medical professionals may mix PRP with other bone graft therapies to enhance tissue repair. If applicable, doctors may also use it to treat skin, skeletal, and muscular conditions.
What can PRP treat?
PRP injections are used to treat sports-related injuries like torn tendons, tendinitis, and muscle and joint injuries. They may also be used for treating people who experience arthritis-related pain. As mentioned earlier, PRP is also becoming more common for cosmetic procedures.
For example, injecting PRP may help reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss. Dermatologists and hair replacement experts use PRP injections to treat androgenic alopecia, pattern baldness that affects both genders. However, only a small-scale study reported its effectiveness in treating balding males, which means further controlled research is needed to assess its efficacy in treating hair loss fully.
Besides tissue healing and cosmetic procedures, doctors may also use PRP to reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis and OA. However, medical organizations are against its use to treat forms of arthritis.
The efficacy of PRP
So far, research shows PRP speeds up healing after injury or surgery for certain conditions like torn tendons. Some studies also show that it curbs pain and boosts mobility for people with rotator cuff injuries. They also appear to reduce hair loss for those with male and female pattern baldness.
It can take at least several weeks for PRP effects to manifest. However, some conditions, including those that affect the hair and skin, may take up to six months to notice any effects. The procedure may also need to be repeated to maintain results for hair loss treatment.
On the other hand, you can’t get PRP injections if you have abnormal platelet function or low platelet count, anemia, cancer, or an infection.
PRP produces results, but it still needs to be studied more to determine how effective it is and can be. However, it is safe and doesn’t cause adverse reactions to people injected with PRP injections. Should it be recommended by your doctor for your treatment, confirm if they’ve vouched for it themselves to feel more comfortable about agreeing to take it.
Though not a medical professional, Hodge Racter knows a lot about medical topics, including regenerative medicine and total wellness that treats people from the inside out. Today, he remains spry and energetic despite his age, and when he’s not doing freelance work, he’s having quality time with his wife and two dogs.