There are many stages in the healing process, and platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP, is designed to take advantage of the initial phase of injury recovery: inflammation. When it comes to treating either acute injuries or chronic pain, medical research has shown that this state-of-the-art therapy is a natural, safe, and effective alternative to prescription medications or surgery. At ProHealth Physical Medicine in Studio City, Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Gonzalez and his team offer PRP therapy to patients affected by a variety of injuries and conditions.
Your mostly liquid blood plasma contains a variety of small, solid components, including red cells, white cells, and platelets. Although the platelets in your blood are best known for the critical role they play in blood clotting, they also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which are essential for healing injuries.
Platelet-rich plasma is a preparation made from a patient’s blood. After the practitioner draws the patient's blood, they separate the platelets from the other blood cells. The platelets are then mechanically concentrated in a process known as centrifugation. The concentrated platelets are then added back into plasma so the practitioner can carefully inject them into the injured area.
Platelet-rich plasma contains 5 to 10 times as many platelets as what’s found in normal, circulating blood. It also contains other bioactive substances, including platelet, derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), and several other potentially beneficial bioactive proteins. Although it’s not clear exactly how PRP therapy works, research has shown that inundating an injury with the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can speed up the body’s natural healing process.
PRP therapy has been effective in treating a broad range of injuries and conditions, including weakened, torn, or damaged ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joints, as well as arthritis. Although research indicates that PRP is most effective in treating chronic tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow, it can be used to address the following effectively:
PRP can also be used to promote healing post-surgery. An athlete with a torn heel cord, for example, may heal faster if PRP is used to treat the area during surgery.
PRP is mixed with a local anesthetic and carefully injected into the inflamed tissue. Although many patients do experience post-procedure soreness, the procedure itself is well-tolerated. The common PRP therapy plan typically includes two to four treatments, depending on the nature and severity of the injury. Because this therapeutic healing process takes time, it may be a week or longer before you notice an improvement.
Dr. Gonzalez and the team at ProHealth Physical Medicine will provide you with detailed post-procedure instructions, and assess your progress at during a follow-up visit.
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