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What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is generally plasma saturated with more platelets than the usual number. Platelets are the components of blood that contain a protein called growth factor that helps in the healing of injuries. The concentration of plasma in Platelet Rich Plasma is 5-10 times more than the usual number.

To prepare Platelet Rich Plasma the patient has to give blood, the platelets in the blood are separated from the other components, and then their concentration increased in a process called centrifugation. The concentrate is then mixed with the remaining blood to speed up the healing process potentially.

Who can use Platelet Rich Plasma treatment?

Scientists have conducted tests on the concept to understand better how it works. PRP might be used for conditions such as:

Chronic tendon injury- researchers say that the effect of PRP on tendon injuries is phenomenal, especially tennis elbow. Treating other injuries such as chronic Achilles tendonitis and the inflation of tendons have also yielded promising results;

Acute ligament injury- most of what we know about PRP is that it is used to treat an acute sports injury. PRP is used to treat athletes with sports injuries such as pulled hamstring muscles in the thigh or knee sprains;

Surgery- in the recent years PRP has been used in surgery to help tissue heal better.

But what advantages do we have in using Platelet Rich Plasma?

1. It is an autologous treatment; this means that it comes from within the body. The body is thus unlikely to have negative medical side effects to the treatment.

2. Other alternative treatments have drawbacks such as:
I. Physical therapy will not relieve symptoms
II. Cortisone injections temporarily reduce pain, but symptoms may recur.
III. Minor surgeries to treat tendon damage carry more risks and have longer recovery times.

3. Other common treatments might fail to offer relief

4. High success rate when used.

The drawbacks of Platelet Rich Plasma are:

1. Some people might require a large dosage to treat their conditions.

2. The cost of PRP adds onto the total cost of treatment. The cost of PRP is around $500. Use of cheaper methods might be tried first.

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