The last two decades have seen the emergence of numerous ground-breaking treatments around the globe. From treating as severe cases of heart ailments to fixing your aesthetics, today, we have a whole range of medical procedures for almost all of your problems.
One such treatment that has been gaining momentum in recent times is that of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. From healing tendon injuries to promote hair growth, this non-invasive treatment is known for its diverse and multi-beneficiary properties.
This treatment is slowly spanning its wings into the developing nations as well after being proven successful in many western developed countries. But there are still a lot of misconceptions associated with it. What does this treatment essentially involve? Who can opt for it? What are its benefits? How much does it cost? We find the answers to all these here.
To understand platelet-rich plasma therapy, we first need to have an understanding of what are platelets and what are their functionalities. So, let us begin in this arena.
Platelets are blood cells that play a pivotal role in causing blood clots during an injury. Whenever one of your blood vessels is injured or damaged, it sends signals to your platelets. Your platelets then reach the injured or damaged area and clot the blood in that place to stimulate the process of healing.
They do so by growing sticky tentacles that enable them to stick to one another. The act of spreading across an injured blood vessel to stop it from bleeding out is known as adhesion. When the platelets send additional signals for more platelets to join them in the process, it is known as aggregation.
Platelets are also known as thrombocytes. An average human has 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of their blood. Platelets are produced in your bone marrow, which makes it one of the most important tissues in your body.
Next, let us focus on understanding the second part of this therapy – plasma.
Plasma is the largest part of your blood and comprises more than 55% of its overall content. Although people think Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs), and platelets as the major component of blood, many ignore the major role plasma plays in keeping everything functional.
Plasma is the liquid substance of your blood. Made of proteins and water, it helps in keeping your blood fluid. In other words, it acts as a medium for the RBCs, WBCs, and platelets to move around your entire body.
When you separate the plasma from the blood, it looks like a light yellow liquid. It also helps in carrying salt, water, hormones, and proteins to various parts of your body. In addition, each cell of your body puts waste materials into the plasma, which then, helps in removing them from your body.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a type of medical procedure wherein the concentration of an individual’s own platelet is injected into their body to promote healing of muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons, and to improve overall musculoskeletal problems.
The basic goal of this treatment is to stimulate the growth of new and healthy cells in a damaged or injured area.
As we stated earlier, this is a multi-beneficiary medical procedure. Let us dig deep into some of its most prominent benefits.
Tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissues that act as a bridge between your bones and muscles. As you can understand, they play a vital role in our movements and stability.
Unfortunately, once they get injured, they take a lot of time to heal on their own. As such, they need assistance. This is where platelet-rich plasma comes in since it can help in treating multiple chronic tendon ailments such as jumper’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, and tennis elbow.
PRP treatment for the knee is also available which accelerates in removing pain from the patellar tendon of your knee.
PRP treatment for hair has been backed up by various studies in the recent past where it was proven that people who undergo this treatment not only grow more hair but also have a thick density to their hair than those who don’t.
The PRP injections accelerate natural hair growth by improving the blood supply to each hair follicle, thereby thickening the shafts of the hair. Here, the platelet-rich plasma is directly injected into the concerned area of the scalp.
Androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness can be significantly treated with this treatment.
Acute injuries consist of all injuries that are severe in nature and which are marked by sudden onset. Sportspersons often suffer from various acute injuries such as knee sprain, pulled hamstring muscle, strained back, sprained ankle, and fractured hands, among others.
PRP treatment has witnessed success in healing in all these aforementioned acute injuries to a large degree.
People suffering from osteoarthritis can also opt for PRP treatments since it has proven to be more efficient in treating the said medical condition than traditional therapies that involve hyaluronic acid injections.
The usage of PRP therapies has also been seen in various post-surgical methods. From repairing a tendon such as a rotator cuff tendon present in your shoulders to repairing a ligament such as the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), this therapy caters to a whole range of post-surgical needs.
First and foremost, consult a doctor regarding the issue that you are facing and what are your expectations from the treatment. A sound medical practitioner would help you in bridging the gap between expectations and reality.
If the doctor deems your problems as worthy to be resolved through PRP treatment, then you will be given a date and all you need to do is show up.
As this treatment involves the injection of one’s own platelet, therefore it starts with the doctor drawing tube(s) of your own blood (usually from your arm) and putting it into a machine called a centrifuge machine, which spins rapidly in order to separate different fluids based on their densities.
Usually, after 10 minutes in the centrifugal machine, your blood will be separated into three distinct layers – RBCs, platelet-poor plasma, and platelet-rich plasma.
The activated platelet-rich plasmas are then directly injected safely into the concerned damaged or injured body tissue. In the case of hair growth, it is directly injected into the scalp. This helps in stimulating the growth of reparative cells that would, in turn, promote the healing of the injured area of growth of hair.
Various types of imaging such as ultrasound are often used by doctors to direct the specific area for the said injection. It is usually done in the case of tendons. Once the tendon is identified, the PRP is injected into the said area.
The entire process starting from drawing the blood to the injection can take around 30-40 minutes.
It might take weeks or months for the healing to start. In some cases, you might have to undergo this treatment multiple times for the results to appear.
It goes without saying a medical procedure such as the PRP therapy should be undertaken under the strict supervision of certified medical personnel and in a controlled and reputed medical facility.
One aspect that you don’t have to worry about in case of PRP therapies is that of communicable diseases (unless the syringe is infected and/or not fresh) since you are injected with your own blood.
However, just like other medical procedures, there are certain risks involved with PRP therapy as well, primary among them being the follows:
If you witness any of these symptoms or anything else in general, directly get in touch with your doctor. Anyways, maintaining a follow-up with the doctor regardless of any symptoms is always recommended.
Some people also experience an allergic reaction to the anesthetic used during the procedure. Therefore, keeping in mind everything, you should make your doctor know all of your medical history, allergies, and an idea of your lifestyle and diet. This will help in yielding the safest environment for you during the process.
Heavy smokers, drinkers, or those with blood-thinning conditions are often recommended not to undergo this treatment.
Cost generally depends on your location, your requirements from the procedure, and your doctor’s expertise. Sometimes, you might need multiple injections every 2-3 months for seeing the desired results. In addition, you need to remember that its cost is not covered by insurance. For detailed information, you can contact our medical center.
In the past several years, 7DMC has established itself as one of the leading and path-breaking medical centers not only in Dubai but in the entire middle-east for its usage of cutting-edge technology and assistance of expert medical professionals.
Even in their service of providing PRP treatment (whether it is for tending to your injured tendons or rejuvenating the growth of your hair), they are leaps and bounds ahead of their contemporaries. Not only you can rest assured about proper medical guidance here, but you will also be given aftercare to help you recover well from the treatment.
Although the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve of this treatment, various sports icons such as Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal and American golfer Tiger Woods among others have been using it to heal their injuries.
Having existed since the 1980s, more and more researches are still being conducted regarding its potential. If you are looking for a non-invasive method for treating your injuries or promoting hair growth, fix an appointment with a certified doctor in the concerned field and inquire as to how this treatment can help you.