To understand what platelet rich plasma (PRP) is, we first need to look at what makes up your blood.
If we draw blood from your arm, and allow it to sit long enough, the different components of your blood will settle and it will look like the tube on the right. Plasma is the “fluid” part of your blood and contains proteins and nutrients. Red blood cells (RBCs) are the cells that carry oxygen through your body. White blood cells (WBCs) are the cells of the immune system that fight off viruses and bacteria. Platelets are the part of your blood that help to form a clot. They are also responsible for releasing chemicals that trigger the healing process, called growth factors.
When we make PRP, we draw your blood and place it in a centrifuge that spins it very fast. This gives us the ability to separate the parts of the blood quickly and completely. This means we can inject the platelets and plasma alone, without the inflammation and oxidative reactions that the RBCs and WBCs would cause. By concentrating the platelets, we can maximize the amount of growth factors that can be released in the area we are injecting.
What do these growth factors do?
Each growth factor has a specific function as seen in the diagram above. All of these growth factors activate and accelerate the generation of new cells, collagen and elastin, small blood vessels, and even nerve cells.
How is platelet rich plasma (PRP) used?
PRP has been used for decades in orthopedics and sports medicine, to improve and speed up healing of muscle, tendons and ligaments. It has also been used to help heal skin wounds that were not healing otherwise. PRP can be extremely useful in aesthetic medicine, to rejuvenate skin, restore joint function and reduce pain, reduce the appearance of scars, increase hair growth, and even improve sexual function in men and women. It is true regenerative medicine, and even better, because it’s your own blood, comes with no side effects. It is safe and effective, and as natural as you can get.