What is platelet-rich plasma?
The blood supply that circulates throughout the body is comprised of a number of small components. Plasma is a liquid composition that accounts for the majority of the blood supply with red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets constituting the remainder of the blood supply. Platelets are fragments of large bone marrow cells that contain numerous proteins, or growth factors, responsible for repairing injuries and, together with coagulation factors, play an important role in blood clot initiation.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is the liquid portion of the blood supply with an increased concentration of platelets and growth factors. The concentration of this platelet-rich plasma can be upwards of 5 to 10 times greater than the naturally occurring concentration found in the body. This natural biologic treatment is intended to diminish pain and inflammation and create an environment favorable for healing. Current research on the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma has shown this biologic treatment to be a promising cost-effective alternative to surgery in the correct patient and condition treatment.
How does platelet-rich plasma work?
Platelets react to a break in the blood vessel wall by clumping together to form a plug. This blood clot initiation, known as primary hemostasis, launches a series of actions through coagulation factors to assemble new tissue and bring blood flow to the injury site. Although the exact mechanism of how platelet-rich plasma operates is not yet known, research has found that platelet-rich plasma can accelerate the healing process by activating the patient’s own immune system as well as providing the necessary components for building new tissue. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic joint preservation doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area, who have experienced an injury or condition that can be treated with platelet-rich plasma.
How is the platelet-rich plasma treatment prepared?
Everything is done in one clinic visit in the office. This whole process takes approximately 1 hour from start to finish. Drawing blood from the patient is the first step in preparing platelet-rich plasma. As the different blood components vary in density, the blood sample is placed into a centrifuge that separates the platelets through a rapid spinning process which takes approximately 30 minutes. This platelet concentration is then added back into the plasma and subsequently injected directly into the injury site or joint by Dr. Patel. We often use an ultrasound to deliver the PRP accurately.