Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy works for one simple reason. It uses your body’s natural regenerative ability to heal damaged tissues.
No matter what problem causes your pain — whether it’s a sports injury, chronic back pain, arthritis, or an inflammatory condition like tendonitis — the platelets in PRP relieve your pain by accelerating healing.
Orthopedic surgeon Andrew B. Richardson, MD, specializes in PRP therapy to help patients recover and, in some cases, even avoid surgery. Here are the top four ways PRP therapy effectively improves healing.
PRP triggers healing
Platelets are tiny cell fragments that live in your blood and store a variety of biochemicals. When you’re injured or your tissues are damaged by disease, platelets travel to the area and do two things: stop the bleeding and activate the healing process.
Though clotting your blood to stop bleeding is important, that’s not the reason we offer PRP therapy. We use PRP therapy to support healing and help you recover from injury.
When we inject a concentrated dose of platelets, they give your body’s natural platelets a boost and enhance healing. You may need extra platelets if you have a severe injury, if your injury is slow-healing, if you have a progressive condition, or if you injured tissues that don’t heal well because they have a poor blood supply.
PRP restores damaged tissues
The healing process starts when platelets release proteins called growth factors. Platelets send out many types of growth factors, and each one fills specific roles.
As a group, however, growth factors heal damaged tissues by:
- Stimulating new blood vessel growth
- Promoting new cell development
- Recruiting stem cells to the area
- Preventing degeneration of healthy tissues
- Building a matrix that supports new tissue growth
After a PRP injection, these changes may occur at a faster pace thanks to the influx of additional growth factors.
PRP regulates inflammation
Inflammation is a natural and important part of the healing process. In the early stage of healing, inflammation signals the influx of white blood cells, oxygen, nutrients, and other beneficial substances that cleanse and heal the injury.
After healing begins, inflammation should subside. When inflammation lasts too long, it has the opposite effect and starts to damage tissues. PRP releases substances that regulate inflammation and help to stifle it at the right time.
PRP reduces scarring
When soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons heal too slowly, they develop too much scar tissue. Unfortunately, scar tissue affects the structure’s strength after it heals.
Strength declines in direct proportion to the amount of scar tissue that develops. As a result, a tendon or ligament with excessive scar tissue has a higher risk of being reinjured.
PRP therapy helps prevent this problem by speeding up healing and keeping scar tissue to a minimum.
To learn if PRP therapy can help your orthopedic condition, call Andrew B. Richardson, MD, to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.