You cut yourself slicing while some vegetables and within a week your body has repaired the injury. Or, you fall and break a bone and the ends grow back together within a month or two. These are just two examples of how your body is routinely repairing and healing itself, often with great success.
The regenerative resources in your body are powerful, but there are times when the damage is great and exceeds the natural ability of your body to quickly heal and regenerate. This is where platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy comes in.
As experts in regenerative medicine, our team at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine appreciates the power of the regenerative abilities of the human body, but we also understand when they can use a little boost. Through PRP therapy, we provide this boost. Here’s a closer look.
Platelets are key to healing
Your blood contains four main elements:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
To understand the role that platelets play, let’s go back to the example of slicing your finger with a knife. One of the first reactions in your body is a flood of platelets, which are flat cells that quickly form a barrier in your damaged blood vessels to stop the bleeding.
Once the threat of bleeding is addressed, your platelets then release growth factors which stimulate cell proliferation and wound healing. These growth factors initiate the wound-healing cascade that allows your body to repair and heal.
Tapping your platelets
With PRP therapy, we’re simply amplifying your body’s wound-healing cascade by creating a concentrate of your own platelets and redirecting them into your damaged tissue. To do this, we draw a sample of your blood and then separate out the platelets in a special centrifuge.
Once we have the platelet concentrate, we mix it back in with a small amount of your plasma and inject the resulting solution directly into your tissue, where it goes to work and release growth factors.
The many benefits of PRP therapy
The primary goal of regenerative medicine is to call upon your body’s own resources to regenerate and repair from within, on a cellular level. This approach to healing is generally preferable over interventional therapies that work around your body rather than working with it.
As well, PRP therapy is considered to be quite safe since it’s autologous, (which means the substance is sourced from your own body) so your body readily accepts the treatment.
When it comes to how well this innovative therapy works, one review gathered information from 132 different studies on PRP therapy. In total, “61% of the studies found PRP to be favorable over control treatment.” What is meant by control treatment is usually a placebo or no treatment at all.
Due to its safety and efficacy, there are many applications for PRP therapy — from arthritis in your knee to tendon damage in your shoulder. In fact, we feel that the uses of PRP therapy will only expand in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about PRP therapy and whether this treatment is right for your musculoskeletal issue, please contact one of our offices in West Orange or Westfield, New Jersey.