Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of regenerative treatment that uses a patient’s own healing system to repair connective tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, joints, and injured tendons. It involves injecting a patient with a concentration of their own platelets. The Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine in Indianapolis, IN offers PRP therapy, and we’re available to help you understand how the injection works and what conditions it can treat.
PRP injections have been successful in treating a number of injuries and conditions, such as ACL injuries, rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis, hamstring muscle injuries, and arthritis. If you’re suffering from such conditions, then you need to learn more about PRP treatment and how it can benefit you.
Understanding PRP Treatments
As noted, PRP shots are taken from the patient’s own blood. The plasma, which is the liquid portion of blood, makes up about 55% of the blood volume. It contains proteins and water, and it allows platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells to move easily through the body.
Also known as thrombocytes, platelets help in blood clotting to stop bleeding when you’re injured. Their role in healing is a crucial aspect of this treatment. Taking advantage of the body’s ability to heal itself, our doctors inject PRP in the affected area to ensure a natural healing process.
Platelets contain essential growth factors, such as growth factor IGF, epidermal growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor. These growth factors are crucial in the healing process and facilitate the quick growth of tissue, cells, and blood vessels.
How the Process Works
When you visit our office for treatment, our doctors take your blood sample. The blood is drawn from a vein in your arm and put in a vial. In most cases, less than three ounces of blood (15 to 50 mL) are necessary for the treatment. We then use a centrifuge machine to isolate the growth factors from the plasma. After separating the platelets, we add a small amount of plasma to the platelets to make the injectable PRP.
Once the injection is ready, your doctor numbs the treatment areas using an injection of Procaine, Lidocaine, or other anesthetics, to minimize discomfort during the injection. The doctor then injects the PRP into the specific area based on the nature of the damage or injury.
Usually, we use imaging like ultrasound to pinpoint the exact area of treatment during the injections. This ensures accuracy when guiding the injection. Precision is vital during the treatment, particularly when injecting into the joint capsule in arthritis patients.
How PRP Improves Healing
Platelets have over 30 bioactive proteins, which help the body tissues to heal. They release seven protein growth factors that facilitate the process of wound healing. Additionally, PRP has three types of proteins that allow cells to integrate to speed up healing.
The various processes involved in the natural healing of the body are complex. PRP shots work by activating such processes in the affected areas. In this case, the processes are amplified several times for quick healing. Once injected in the affected area, platelets reduce inflammation cells and speed up cellular growth.
Uses of PRP Injections
Our doctors can recommend PRP shots for several situations. During the initial consultations, we strive to understand your situation and give recommendations that best fit your unique situation. Here are cases that can benefit from PRP treatment:
Treatment of Musculoskeletal Conditions
PRP treatment is effective in treating different conditions, such as spine injuries, knee osteoarthritis, ankle sprains, pelvic pain, tennis elbow, and other conditions. Acute muscle strains are among the most common athletic injuries. These injuries occur due to a direct impact on a particular muscle group. Excessive load can also stretch the muscles beyond their limits, thus leading to injuries. PRP shots can reduce recovery time for such injuries by up to 50%, and they also help to prevent re-injury.
PRP treatment can also be used together with other therapies, such as lifestyle changes and physical therapy, during the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Patients with knee osteoarthritis experience reduced stiffness and pain after getting the injections.
We can also recommend PRP therapy is you have ligament injuries. Athletes with such injuries can quickly return to playing when they get this injection. PRP supports quick ligament healing, and it also lowers dynamic instability. This treatment is particularly useful for acute ligament injuries. If you have any musculoskeletal disorder, our doctors will work to understand your case to ensure a quick recovery.
The cosmetic industry has also registered remarkable results in the use of PRP injections. The shots help patients heal from scars and promote quick healing after plastic surgery. They also help in boosting the glow and volume of your face. Some of the benefits of PRP treatment in skincare include:
- Enhancement of crepy skin
- Reduction of skin laxity for optimal tightening
- Improvement of tone and texture of the skin
- Production of new collagen fibers
- Reduction of wrinkles and fine lines
Doctors may recommend PRP shots for various facial improvement treatments. They can be used to address issues, such as acne, crepey skin, wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, and nasal labial folds.
Treatment of Certain Medical Conditions
PRP therapy can also be used to address hair loss. After undergoing hair transplantation, doctors can recommend the injections to help speed up the growth of the new hair roots. Patients will need consistent PRP shots to get optimal results. Men suffering from androgenic alopecia can also benefit from the shots. Studies have shown that PRP can restore lost hair when applied to the scalp. For complex baldness cases, patients will need at least one PRP treatment every month for about four to six months to improve hair re-growth.
People with chronic back pain can also get the therapy to get relief. PRP works on the injured tissues, muscles, and organs to minimize inflammation. Research has shown that the treatment helps to address the pain from the roots, hence offering a long-term solution to back pain.
Some clinics offer PRP shots for erectile dysfunction (ED). However, this treatment is still experimental. The theory behind PRP for ED is that the shots help to make blood vessels and tissues in the penis healthier.
Candidates for the Injections
For most people, PRP shots can be an effective treatment for several conditions and an ideal alternative to surgery and conventional medications. However, we might need to determine your eligibility for the shots before the treatment. This allows us to determine the right approach to your case for optimal efficacy.
The severity of your injury or condition is also an essential consideration during the initial consultations. You’re a good candidate if conventional treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and steroid injections, fail to work or you just don’t want to use them.
In some cases, the shots might not be ideal for you. For example, if you have structural damage in the affected area, the shots might not be effective. Patients suffering from diseases such as cancer, cerebral palsy, anemia, and Parkinson’s disease, might also not be eligible. If you have abnormal platelet function or a low platelet count, the treatment might not be useful for you.
Some patients may also consider using PRP treatments as a form of preventive medicine. In this case, the aim to prevent chronic pain and injuries from developing into unmanageable situations. This is common among athletes who want treatments that can allow them to continue engaging in sports.
It’s important to be forthright as possible when talking to our doctors. You’re able to get the results you want when you provide as much information as possible. This is also important for injuries or cases that might require more than one session to ensure a full recovery.
Preparing for PRP Shots
We’ll also guide you on how to prepare for the treatment. Be sure to provide your doctor with all information regarding your medications or any existing conditions You’ll need to avoid corticosteroid medications for about two to three weeks before the injections. It’s advisable not to use arthritis medications like Celebrex a week before the shot.
Doctors also recommend not taking anticoagulation medication for at least five days prior to the therapy. You may also need to drink plenty of fluids. These are just some of the standard pre-injection precautions. Our doctors will provide additional guidance based on your unique case after reviewing your health and medication history.
After getting the injections, our doctors will guide you on how to take care of yourself. We may advise avoiding anti-inflammatory pain medication during the recovery period. In most cases, your doctor can recommend other pain medications, and we’ll let you know when you can begin using anti-inflammatory drugs.
For joint injections, it’s advisable to wear a sling or brace to immobilize and protect the joint. If you receive the injection in the hip, knee, or ankle, we recommend using crutches. We may also recommend several supportive approaches, such as hormone balancing and nutritional therapy, to boost the efficacy of the injections.
When receiving PRP shots for musculoskeletal conditions, you’re likely to recover within weeks or even days, depending on the severity of your case. Tissue repair starts about three to five days after getting the injections. Remember, the injections are intended to promote the natural healing process, so the results will not occur immediately after the injections.
We recommend resting the affected area for a few days after the shots. Keep in mind that the aim is to prevent the injury from worsening. Ideally, the recommendation is more related to the injuries, not the shots. In most cases, you can continue with your routine and activities after the treatment.
If the treatment is successful, it’s advisable to start physical therapy. Simple exercises can help build and maintain muscle strength around the affected area. For osteoarthritis patients, the exercises help to slow down or stop joint degeneration.
PRP Therapy Can Help You
PRP Therapy is a simple, non-invasive procedure that takes about an hour or less in our office. The PRP substances used in the treatment are from your body, so the injections are safe. There are no adverse reactions to the shots, but you might need repeat shots to get the right results in some cases.
Whatever your case, you can trust Dr-Guyer and the staff to help you with this treatment. After detailed tests, we’ll provide you with a treatment plan for your unique situation. For any questions or booking appointments, contact The Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine today for professional help. You can also call us at (317) 580-9355 when you’re ready.