“Chronic complex musculoskeletal injuries that are slow to heal pose challenges to physicians and researchers alike. Orthobiologics is a relatively newer science that involves application of naturally found materials from biological sources (for example, cell-based therapies), and offers exciting new possibilities to promote and accelerate bone and soft tissue healing.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an orthobiologic that has recently gained popularity as an adjuvant treatment for musculoskeletal injuries. It is a volume of fractionated plasma from the patient’s own blood that contains platelet concentrate. The platelets contain alpha granules that are rich in several growth factors… which play key roles in tissue repair mechanisms. PRP has found application in diverse surgical fields to enhance bone and soft-tissue healing by placing supra-physiological concentrations of autologous platelets at the site of tissue damage. The relative ease of preparation, applicability in the clinical setting, favorable safety profile and possible beneficial outcome make PRP a promising therapeutic approach for future regenerative treatments.” (1)
What does make PRP work? Let’s look at some of growth factors and what they do:
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF): This is a protein that helps control cell growth and division, especially blood vessels. More blood to the site of a wound, more healing. PDGF has also been shown to provide a fertile ground for stem cell division – another reason for Stem Cell Therapy and PRP to be considered in tandum as a treatment.
Transforming growth factor-β is a polypeptide and important in tissue regeneration.
Insulin-like growth factor is a protein that is “insulin-like” similar to insulin. In this context of joint repair it is an important friend of cartilage cells.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) an important protein that brings healing oxygen to damaged tissue blood circulation is damaged or inadequate.
Epidermal growth factor, which play key roles in tissue repair mechanisms.
These are the healing factors in PRP and the tools in the hands of an experienced physician can restore a knee, hip, shoulder, any joint back to pre-injury status.
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has become very popular.
Physicians who do not do traditional Prolotherapy are now offering PRP.
Unfortunately, these untrained doctors are injecting the platelets in a way that is often painful, debilitating for weeks, and can leave hematomas (collections of clotted blood) in the area injected. We believe that PRP is best delivered by a physician already experienced and well versed in Prolotherapy.
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1. Dhillon RS, Schwarz EM, Maloney MD. Platelet-rich plasma therapy – future or trend? Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Aug 8;14(4):219. [Epub ahead of print]