Platelet rich plasma therapy is a recent advancement in the field of medicine that is being utilized to accelerate healing in damaged tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. It has gained recognition among sports men who have used it at one time or another to deliver healing from sport related injuries.
The technique entails the use of one’s blood to prepare the fluid that will be injected into the injured area. Platelets are responsible for the blood clotting process in the body. They aggregate at an area of injury forming a plug and preventing further blood loss. The white blood cells and the red blood cells make up the rest of the cellular component of blood.
These cells swim in plasma, a pale yellow fluid that confers fluidity to the blood. It was discovered that platelets contain granules that have factors that promote tissue growth. Such factor includes platelet derived growth factor, transforming growth factor, insulin dependent growth factors 1 and 2 among others.
Blood is usually drawn from a peripheral vessel in the same routine procedure. The injection site is cleaned via an aseptic technique and a small sample of blood drawn. A portion of the drawn blood is mixed with calcium chloride and thrombin. These chemicals are added to it so as to stimulate the release of granules from the platelets. The sample of blood is then centrifuged. This increases the concentration of platelets. When this is complete, the rest of the drawn blood is added and the sample is ready for use. The blood collection procedure is relatively simple and there is very minimal risk for complications.
The injured area has to be identified before and the area targeted for treatment should be clearly mapped out. The doctor injects the platelet rich plasma therapy into the area of injury through the help of ultrasound. The ultrasound guidance helps the doctor to direct the therapy where it is needed and avoid damage to the surrounding soft tissues and blood vessels. The blood sample can also be specially prepared and sutured into the damaged tissue via a surgical technique. This treatment modality can be used in the repair of torn tendons and ligaments.
The growth factors contained in the plasma stimulate the regeneration of tissue at the target site. This results in repair and may also stimulate regeneration of dead tissue. As such, platelet rich plasma therapy offers hope for specific patients whose tissues have undergone degenerative changes and the body’s ability to repair itself is limited in carrying out the repair process.
The platelet rich plasma therapy administration carries minimal risk and rarely do have untoward incidences been reported. The procedure needs to be repeated several times for acceptable results to be established. There is almost a zero chance of suffering side effects from the treatment. The blood utilized is the patient’s own and this rule out rejection complications.
The therapy has proven effective in the treatment of longstanding elbow injury involving the elbow joint and not only stimulates healing but also reduces inflammation in the long run. This decreases the need for anti inflammatory medications whose lone term use is associated with adverse side effects.