PRP therapy, or platelet-rich plasma therapy, is becoming a go-to treatment for an assortment of medical conditions. Learn more about it here.
Everything You Need to Know About PRP Therapy
What Is PRP Therapy?
PRP or platelet-rich plasma comes with many other names like platelet-rich fibrin matric, platelet concentrate, and platelet-rich growth factors. PRP therapy utilizes its self-healing nature and is usually prevalent in the treatment of musculoskeletal sports injuries.
How Does PRP Work?
PRP treatments begin with blood being drawn from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge, which separates platelets and plasma from the rest of the blood components; the entire process lasts for an hour.
The plasma, infused with a huge concentration of platelets, is then injected into a patient’s affected area. Growth factors in the platelets stimulate stem cells into growing new tissue, replacing old and damaged cells.
The most beneficial aspect of PRP therapy is that it’s not an external treatment. Since it’s sourced from the patient’s own body, it causes no allergic reactions and has very few side effects.
Where Is PRP Therapy Used?
PRP for the Reproductive System
PRP has recently been a much-touted treatment for many issues in the genitalia and reproductive system. Treatments like the P-shot, O-shot and various PRP applications help with genital and reproductive conditions like erectile dysfunction in men and reduced sexual response in women.
This is otherwise known as the Priapus Shot, named after the Greek god of male fertility. It results in stronger penile erections, increased girth and length, and even resolves penile pain and curvatures from conditions like Peyronie’s disease.
P-shots administered into the penis allows for proteins and growth factors to activate stem cells and stimulate cellular repair. This leads to a boost in collagen production and formation of new blood vessels which further improve blood flow and sustain an erection.
The O-shot is a PRP injection therapy for women having problems with sexual stimulation and orgasm. It involves a PRP injection into a group of structures in the vagina called the O-Spot, which help activate orgasmic reactions or increase vaginal lubrication.
PRP triggers the release of growth factors in stem cells in the clitoral and vaginal tissues. This increases sensitivity in the area and enhances their sexual response.
PRP for Face
This has been included in the wave of facial treatments under the popular adage, “the Vampire Facial.” The treatment involves drawing a patient’s blood from the arm, extracting the PRP, and micro-needling it onto the patient’s skin.
PRP for the face may result in more rejuvenated skin, fewer visible wrinkles, and firmer skin. It also requires very little downtime, with recovery expected in at least a day after the procedure.
PRP for Hair Loss and Hair Growth
PRP therapy has also been shown to be effective at preventing hair loss and promoting regrowth of hair. It is commonly used in treating androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness, and even female pattern baldness.
PRP for Eyes
Besides being used to rejuvenate dark circles under the eyes, PRP treatments are also beneficial to several ocular surface disorders or conditions affecting the cornea and conjunctiva. These include dry eyes, post-laser eye surgery complications, dormant eye ulcers and more.
The factor of the patient’s own blood being used in treatment is the main advantage for its use on a sensitive area like the eye. PRP allows for a more prolonged release of growth factors which help support wound healing in the corneal and conjunctival surface over time.
PRP for Knees
Knee pain can be caused by injury, surgery, or inflammation brought about by osteoarthritis. PRP treatments are a common remedy as they effectively manage pain.
The best candidates for PRP knee injections are those who have failed with conventional methods such as physical therapy, cortisone injections, and prescribed anti-inflammatories.
PRP for Hands
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is also one of the best ways to restore a more youthful and rejuvenated look to hands.
PRP injections into the hands initiate a stem cell response, which leads to the growth of more blood vessels stimulating the production of more fibroblasts. This helps replace damaged tissue and produce more collagen.
PRP for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a more popular term for lateral epicondylitis and is a common injury among tennis players. It is an inflammation of the tendons which connect the muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow.
Like a variety of other tendon injuries, tennis elbow is usually tricky to treat because the scar tissue formed after tendon injuries make them more susceptible to re-injury. PRP injections sourced from the patient’s own body makes the healing process more natural and provides a natural scaffold for extra support.
PRP for Arthritis
PRP therapy has been shown to be effective in improving the function of joints, reducing pain, and slowing down of cartilage damage by stimulating cartilage formation and increasing joint lubrication.
PRP for Back Pain
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is helpful in alleviating back pain, especially that of the lower back. This is due to its ability to stimulate the proliferation of stem cells and metabolic activity of intervertebral discs, or the degeneration which causes lower back pain.
When Did the Use of PRP Therapy Start?
The entire concept of PRP came about in the 1970s. This was when hematologists first used PRP, back then a plasma transfusion with a platelet count higher than peripheral blood, for thrombocytopenia patients.
In the 1980s, PRP then began making its rounds in maxillofacial surgery. The fibrin content of PRP was helpful for its homeostatic and adhering properties, as well as the anti-inflammatory elements that helped stimulate the proliferation of cells.
PRP has since then been used in a wide variety of medical fields. These include pediatric surgery, cardiac surgery, urology, gynecology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dental surgery, as well as dermatology.
PRP’s uses and applications in the field of dermatology has been increasing over the years. This is due to its role in the regeneration of tissue, scar revision, healing of wounds, skin rejuvenation, and some forms of hair loss.
What Are Hematologists? A specialist in the field of hematology, which is the study of blood, blood diseases, and blood-forming organs
What Is Peripheral Blood? This is the blood that flows and circulates around the body. It consists of erythrocytes, thrombocytes, and leukocytes
What Is Thrombocytopenia? This is a condition wherein there is a low count of platelets in the blood. It can lead to bruising, slow blood clotting, and bleeding into the body’s tissues.
The promising results and even broader potential of PRP therapy are what makes it appealing not only to patients but to doctors as well. PRP therapy contains nothing other than what is already present in a patient’s body, and with minor alterations can change the entire course of a medical condition.
Always consult with your doctor or primary healthcare provider if you want to try PRP therapy.
Have you tried PRP therapy before? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!