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Is PRP a Miracle Therapy?

August 21st, 2023

In recent years, medical research has increasingly focused on therapies that can help the body to heal itself.

One such therapy is platelet-rich plasma, also known as PRP.

Platelet-rich plasma is collected from each patient’s own blood. Platelets are concentrated by putting the patient’s blood into a centrifuge. Once concentrated, the platelets are then re-injected into the specific area of the patient’s body needing treatment.

PRP has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, ranging from orthopedic injuries to hair loss to sexual dysfunction.

The History of Platelet-Rich Plasma

Dr. Robert Marx, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, pioneered the use of platelet concentrates back in the 1970s. At the time, he used platelet concentrates to speed up the healing of bone grafts that were needed for facial reconstruction surgery.

During the 1980s, the growth factors contained within platelets were recognized for their ability to stimulate tissue regeneration and repair. Growth factors are simply proteins and hormones that are capable of stimulating cell proliferation.

By the 1990s, the use of PRP had been extended to a wider variety of medical applications. New uses included orthopedics, sports medicine, and wound healing.

However, it wasn’t until the 2000s that PRP started to receive more substantial attention and acceptance, when professional athletes like Tiger Woods started using it to treat sports-related injuries.

How is PRP Prepared?

The basic process for deriving platelet-rich plasma is the same regardless of how or where it will be used:

  1. A small amount of blood is withdrawn from the patient to be treated.
  2. Platelets from the patient’s blood are concentrated using a centrifuge.
  3. The plasma layer that contains the concentrated platelets is extracted.
  4. The concentrated PRP is injected into the area of the patient’s body that needs treatment.

Why Does PRP Work?

Platelets are most commonly known for making your blood clot when a wound occurs. However, as noted above, they also contain growth factors that encourage tissue regeneration.

Creating PRP by way of concentrating a patient’s platelets is thought to increase the potency of the growth factors contained within those platelets. These growth factors may also contain anti-inflammatory properties.

And since the platelets are taken from the patient’s own blood, there is minimal risk for adverse allergic or immunological reactions.

What Can PRP Be Used For?

As described above, the growth factors and bioactive molecules found within platelet-rich plasma help to promote tissue regeneration and repair. As a consequence, PRP is being used in a growing number of medical applications, including:

  1. Dental and Oral Surgery – 
    Platelet-rich plasma is often used to speed up the healing process and reduce complications from tooth extractions, dental implants, and oral surgery in general.
  2. Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine –
    Sports-related injuries (like sprains, strains, tears, and tendonitis) can often benefit from the use of PRP. PRP has also been used to shorten downtime from orthopedic surgery.
  3. Arthritis –
    PRP has yielded promising results for the treatment of arthritis and other joint conditions.
  4. Wound Healing –
    Difficult-to-heal wounds, including diabetic skin ulcers, have responded well to being treated with PRP.
  5. Dermatology –
    PRP is now commonly used in both restorative and aesthetic dermatology to improve skin tone and texture.
  6. Hair Loss –
    PRP injections into the scalp have shown promising results for the reversal of hair loss.
  7. Sexual Issues –
    The “P-shot” has been used to treat erectile disfunction in men. Similarly, the “O-shot” has been used to treat vaginal issues in women.

Should You Try PRP?

If you do try PRP, make sure you are treated by a certified medical professional who has experience administering PRP.

Want to learn more? To schedule your free 30-minute consultation, call us today at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form.

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