Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) and Different Uses
Maybe you’ve heard of platelet-rich plasma (PRP); if not, we guarantee that you will hear of it soon enough, as its popularity within the medical industry is increasing rapidly. It has even taken over on social media. However, as with all novel ideas, there is a lot of hype and questions surrounding this new treatment modality, and we want to provide you with facts to answer some of those questions.
In this post, we will look at what PRP therapy is and how it is made. Then we will do a follow-up post describing the use of PRP treatment in dermatology.
What is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?
Platelets (thrombocytes) are a type of blood cell whose primary function is to aid with clotting. But they are also quite instrumental in the healing process. At an injury or treatment site, platelets will produce compounds known as growth factors, which aid cell repair and regeneration, an integral and initial part of the healing process.
Plasma is the liquid part of your blood made mostly of water and protein. It is also the largest part of the blood (55%), and when separated from the rest of the blood, as in the case of PRP therapy, plasma has a light yellow color. Plasma’s primary role is to transport proteins, hormones, and nutrients throughout the body.
In platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, the specialist injects a concentration of your platelets at your site of injury or treatment. The aim is to speed up the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, and tissues by inducing the growth of new tissues and cells. The plasma is used to transport the platelets into the required areas, where they aid in the healing process.
How is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Made?
To start the process, the specialist will use a butterfly needle to withdraw blood from your arm. The needle has butterfly-shaped wings and is used to access a vein for drawing blood or administering medication. After withdrawal, the blood gets transferred into a blue-top tube with a rubber stopper. This is a specialized tube for platelet-rich plasma blood collection, as it contains 3.8% sodium citrate and GEL. Several studies show that sodium citrate is one of the most suitable anticoagulants as it ensures optimal platelet viability is maintained at a high level.
It is then placed in a machine called a centrifuge. The Centrifuge 614B model that holds up to 6 tubes is used to prepare the PRP through a process known as differential centrifugation. During differential centrifugation, the centrifuge is adjusted in speed to separate the different parts of the blood. The blood comes out separated then the platelet-poor plasma is suspended into the plasma by gently shaking the tube. Lastly, the affected area is numbed and the PRP mixture is injected.
We hope you’ve learned a bunch about PRP treatment from this post and are looking forward to our next post, where we will tell you how platelet-rich plasma therapy can benefit you.
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Platelet Rich Plasma PRP tube 8ml High concentration. (2018). Henso Medical. https://www.hensomed.com/products/platelet-rich-plasma-prp-tube-8ml-high-concentration/
Camille Noe Pagán. (2019, August 19). Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections: What to Know. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/platelet-rich-plasma-injections#1
What Is Plasma? - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. (2021). Rochester.edu. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=37
- Cecilia Arias