If you’re new to PRP therapy (and most people are), the following Web page on PRP General Information will provide you with a basic understanding of what PRP (platelet rich plasma) is, what it does, and how it works.
Blood is made up of four major components: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma (lymph), and platelets. The “cellular” portion of blood is composed of red blood cells (91 percent), platelets (6 percent), and white blood cells (1 percent). Plasma is the straw-colored medium within which all the other components are suspended. Plasma is what that allows blood to be fluid. Without plasma, the heart couldn’t pump the remaining slurry of red cells, white cells, platelets, hormones, and other molecules.
For most people, the only time we are aware of plasma is when we have a skin abrasion. As a child, you probably noticed a sticky yellow gel that formed at the edges of a scar when you skinned your elbows or knees — that’s plasma.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a specific portion of your plasma that is separated from a vial of your blood in a centrifuge. PRP contains an unusually high concentration of platelets (5-10 times the number in normal blood), hence the name.
Platelets are cell-like organelles (cells without a nucleus) that are essential to blood clotting. Platelets also accelerate the wound healing process on a cellular level by signaling local stem cells to increase the production of new tissues (proliferation), which tissues (differentiation), directing the movement of these newly formed cells (chemotaxis), their shape (morphogenesis), the formation of new capillaries and vessels (angiogenesis).
Recent data indicates that platelets release a pulse of bioactive glycoproteins — commonly called “growth factors” (or more specifically as chemokines and cytokines). These bioactive proteins are responsible for signaling your body’s microscopic repair mechanisms that is time to take action.
PRP was first widely used in dentistry in the 1980s to promote gum and bone healing in tissue surrounding new implants, jaw reconstruction, and gum regeneration procedures.
For decades, PRP has been effective in several fields of medicine: sports medicine, orthopedics, dermatology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), and cosmetic surgery.
Because PRP therapy involves using your body’s own plasma, there is virtually no possibility of rejection or an allergic reaction. Likewise, since nothing foreign is being injected, the risk of infection is extremely low, especially since platelets are part of the body’s defense mechanism against unwanted microbes like bacteria and viruses.
There are also no know systemic (side) effects from PRP therapy, although it is normal to feel pain and swelling near the injection sites. This is part of the body’s healing process. This pain and inflammation usually peaks within 24 hours and disappears after a couple of days.