Have you heard of platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP therapy? This is a kind of regenerative medicine procedure aiming to harness the body’s innate capability to heal itself. Human blood consists of solid and liquid elements. The solid elements include white and red blood cells, and platelets are found in the liquid known as plasma that freely moves through the bloodstream.
While the majority of people are aware of the roles of white and red blood cells in the body, the importance of platelets is often understated. The main physiological purpose of platelets is to assist in the clotting of the blood. But recent developments in regenerative medicine have shown that they can do so much more than that. In fact, PRP therapy is now popular for its contribution to the process of healing. On the other hand, platelets consist of hundreds of proteins known as growth factors that are crucial for the recovery process since they promote healing, reduce pain, and control inflammation.
With PRP therapy, a person’s own blood is extracted from their body and placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood’s components. The resulting substance is then injected into the area of injury. Since the PRP injection is sourced from the patient’s blood, the body isn’t introduced to any new or harmful chemicals or substances during the procedure.
Because of that, many people are now considering that sort of treatment and using terms like ‘regenerative medicine near me’ when searching for it online. But if you can’t decide whether you should go for it, here’s a list of the top reasons you should consider PRP therapy:
1. It Can Help Treat Different Skin Conditions
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is used to alleviate a wide variety of conditions. Besides reducing fine lines and wrinkles, this regenerative medicine procedure may also get rid of sunspots and redness.
With the treatment, your skin will become softer to the touch, and you might notice less dryness as well. PRP therapy is straightforward compared to other treatments requiring several visits and supplemental products or creams. When it comes to facelifts, many individuals these days are opting for this therapy because aside from supposedly being effective, it doesn’t come with a lot of side effects.
What’s more, PRP therapy may also be used to address acne, skin ulcers, melasma, burns, and hyperpigmentation as it can stimulate tissue regeneration and repair.
2. Hair Restoration
Thinning hair can seriously compromise your overall appearance. Whether you’re suffering from a condition like alopecia or hereditary pattern balding, hair loss may leave you feeling self-conscious and even negatively affect your self-confidence in the long run.
When it comes to thinning hair, one of the treatments that many look into is platelet-rich plasma therapy. This non-invasive treatment can support hair growth by encouraging the production of new cells. Furthermore, PRP therapy will use your own body cells to boost hair development. As a result, over time, you may just be able to notice an improvement in the growth and thickness of your tresses.
3. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Is Safe
While there’s a certain level of risk associated with any medical treatment or procedure, platelet-rich plasma is safe, especially when compared to traditional surgical treatments. In general, this regenerative medicine option is no different from getting steroid injections, and they have similar possible side effects.
Since there’s no incision needed for the procedure, there’s minimal risk of infection, and the recovery period is virtually nonexistent. In addition to that, there are no chemicals and additives involved when preparing PRP injections. Thus, no foreign substance will be introduced to your body during the procedure.
4. Minimal Side Effects
Another reason to consider platelet-rich plasma therapy is that it only poses minimal side effects. As the process involved uses the patient’s own platelets, people usually don’t have adverse reactions to the injection. However, take note that it’s possible that the patient may experience pain, bleeding, or irritation in the treated area.
Nevertheless, after undergoing PRP therapy, most patients can do their usual activities or routines almost immediately. The average period from blood drawing (which is when a needle is used to take blood from veins, typically for lab testing) to the injection alone is about 30 minutes.
Also, since PRP therapy involves a blood draw, you need to stay hydrated and make sure you eat beforehand to avoid feeling lightheaded. And in case you feel intense or sharp pain, let your doctor know right away so they can provide an adequate solution.
5. Reduce Low Back Pain
One of the most common problems men and women experience at some point in their lives is lower back pain. Typically, back pain will have severe beginnings and can be treated at home conventionally. But when the condition goes on for more than a month, it’s considered chronic low back pain, and treating it at home isn’t advisable.
Whether you’re living an active lifestyle or not, chronic back pain can be a degenerative medical condition. It’s typically caused by strained or pulled muscles and even damaged ligaments. What’s more, nerve irritation can trigger lower back pain.
Those dealing with chronic back pain assume that what they feel is caused by strained or pulled muscles; thus, they try to fix it by doing some stretches or getting massages for a couple of months. But remember that although such methods may work temporarily, they won’t fix the persistent problem because they don’t target the root cause.
So if you’re looking for natural alternatives to help ease your lower back pain, giving PRP therapy a try might be a good idea. With this treatment, soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments will be revitalized, and the same goes for joints that have been damaged due to natural degeneration or injury.
Since platelets have growth factors that are basically in the blood, infusing high amounts of them into parts of the body may ensure fast-track healing as well as recovery. PRP therapy is said to help reduce certain kinds of pain like the ones caused by joint arthritis in the back and disc injury.
When you undergo this treatment, a medical expert will take your blood sample and place it in a centrifuge, separating it into various components: red blood cells, platelet-rich plasma, and platelet-poor plasma. The platelet-rich plasma will be injected into the areas of your lower back that are painful.
6. Helps In The Treatment Of Various Injuries
Platelet-rich plasma therapy has become known as one of the best treatments for different injuries, most especially athletic-related ones. Here are some of the injuries or conditions that this non-invasive procedure can be used for:
Chronic Tendon Injury Or Tendonitis
One of the most common applications of platelet-rich plasma therapy is for treating a tendon injury caused by repetitive movements like a jumper’s knee, torn rotator cuffs, and tennis elbow. These kinds of injuries are pretty challenging to cure because aside from the repetitive aggravation, the flow of the blood to the tendons may be poor.
Fortunately, PRP therapy will help concentrate the healing platelet cells in the area of the tear. Thus, the tissues will be able to regenerate more rapidly.
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PRP therapy works to either stop or slow osteoarthritis development, also called a chronic degenerative joint problem. This procedure is said to be effective for that condition, especially if it’s in the hip and knee joints or in the ankles and shoulders. The injection may lessen the inflammation in your joints, allowing for more lubrication and, in some instances, new cartilage to develop.
Muscle And Ligament Injuries
Using platelet-rich plasma therapy may be one of the most suitable methods for helping to cure acute injuries of ligaments and muscles such as sprains, pulled thigh muscles, pulled hamstrings, or plantar fasciitis. Early tearing of tendons (not chronic) may fall into this category as well. PRP therapy may accelerate the process of natural healing with platelet concentration up to 10 times what the body typically produces on its own.
Nerve Injury And Damage
Some neurosurgeons have started adopting platelet-rich plasma therapy as one of their treatments for various nerve injuries in the outlying nervous system like carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica. This therapy is helpful when it comes to regenerating nerve tissues, restoring correct function, and easing pain.
7. Treats Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED), as everybody knows, is a serious health issue for men. It won’t just affect the person themselves but also cause strains in their relationships. Treatments for erectile problems like intraurethral suppositories, vacuum erectile devices, and oral ED medications are only a few treatments one can consider.
In most cases, oral medications and lifestyle changes are the standard solutions to erectile dysfunction. However, platelet-rich plasma therapy can also be used for the same purpose.
PRP therapy can trigger growth factors that may stimulate and boost the number of reparative cells that the body gives off. For those who are dealing with ED, PRP therapy can be a great option to improve their situation.
With platelet-rich plasma therapy, men will have a firmer erection, enhanced sensitivity in the penis, and improved overall flow of blood to the area. And one more thing: maintaining and achieving erections becomes a lot easier.
How To Choose The Right Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Doctor
Now that you have an idea about the benefits of platelet-rich plasma therapy, have you decided to give it a try, especially if you’re dealing with any of the conditions mentioned above? If so, then you need to choose the best doctor possible to avoid encountering any problems with the procedure.
When choosing a practitioner who can offer you PRP therapy, you’ll need to look for someone with the qualifications to treat the specific aesthetic or medical condition for which you need treatment. For example, if you need platelet-rich plasma therapy for thinning hair or hair loss, look for a board-certified hair restoration medical expert.
On the other hand, if you need treatment for osteoarthritis, you have to look for an expert in joint problems. They can assess if you’re the right candidate for this kind of regenerative medicine procedure. What’s more, they’ll be able to give you advice that you may want to take into account before you go undergo the treatment. Also, you can ask around for dermatologists who can assist you with platelet-rich plasma therapy for the purpose of reversing the signs of aging.
Practitioners will use fluoroscopy devices, ultrasonic imaging, or computed tomography for the therapy. These pieces of equipment will help them inject the platelet-rich plasma serum into the correct area where it can provide you with maximum benefits.
The PRP therapy doctor must have had the proper training to obtain the required qualification to treat your problem. That training usually includes participating in certified programs. Surgeons, on the other hand, should spend time working under the supervision of experienced PRP surgeons. The practitioner you pick should be able to advise you on the right treatments to complement the PRP therapy you’ve had.
Are you ready to undergo PRP therapy? If so, you must prepare yourself for the said procedure. If you’re using anti-inflammatory medications, discontinue using them at least three to four days before you get the treatment. It would also be best if you stopped taking blood-thinning vitamins, herbs, or supplements one to two weeks prior to the procedure. Discontinuing steroid injections or systemic steroids is equally advisable. Nevertheless, to make sure that you’re all set to receive the therapy, you should consult your doctor beforehand as they can advise you on the things you should and shouldn’t be doing.
When it comes to the recovery period, your practitioner may advise you to rest the treated area. But that kind of recommendation is more for the injury rather than the PRP therapy. As mentioned, the majority of patients can continue with their day-to-day routine following the procedure.
Since PRP therapy is intended to promote growth and healing, you may not see immediate differences after receiving the injection. But in the next few weeks or months, the area may start growing more hair or healing faster than you would have anticipated if you hadn’t obtained PRP therapy.