Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelets help form a clot in order to heal cuts and other injuries, but another crucially important function of platelets is the release of various growth factors responsible for almost all repair processes that occur in the body. These growth factors, also called cytokines, are extremely important in cellular communication, having both direct and indirect effects on stem cells and other types of more mature cells. They work as a communication network between the cells, among other functions. These cytokine factors activate stem cells to grow in numbers and help initiate repair of various types of tissues.

Platelets and accompanying stem cells are responsible for repair, whether in healing an injury or recovering from surgery. Platelets are found circulating in the blood but typically occur in relatively small numbers. So, about twenty years ago the idea of concentrating platelets was developed and now techniques using concentrated platelets have become known as Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, which stimulates healing.

All methods to produce PRP use centrifugation. The type of centrifuge and the speed at which the centrifuge runs varies from one PRP producer to the next. The PRP product that various companies produce varies widely in the concentration and cell types that are found in a PRP product. It is critically important that the PRP be optimally concentrated.

Variation in quality of PRP is most likely the reason one scientific article may show significant positive effects from PRP and the next may show that PRP is no better than a placebo. Much variation exists in PRP products produced by various companies in terms of different concentration of platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells and other types of cells.

These concentrations can make a difference between success and failure of a PRP injection. While clotting agents such as thrombin have been used in the past to “activate” the platelets to release their growth factors, we do not employ any clotting agents with our PRP. It is not necessary and could actually be detrimental, since using a clotting agent releases the growth factors all at once rather than through a prolonged release.

PRP can be injected directly into injured or diseased joints and in cosmetic applications injected directly into the skin area that is desired to be enhanced.

The aftercare for most PRP injections is relatively simple. We allow the patient to resume activity at their own pace.  We typically restrict the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a day or two.  After a PRP injection we utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize stem cell output from the bone marrow, including various supplements and avoidance of smoking and alcohol intake, both of which diminish stem cell output.

We usually perform two PRP injections into an area, usually spaced four to six weeks apart.  Occasionally, a third PRP injection is needed.  PRP injections are replacing traditional orthopedic surgery in many instances for conditions ranging from soft tissue injuries (tendonitis, muscle tears, ligamentous injuries) to various joint afflictions, such as a torn meniscus or mild to moderate arthritis of the joint. The results of PRP in cosmetic dermatology procedures such as StemGlo™ may take several weeks to occur with ongoing beneficial effects lasting for many months.

The discomfort  from the procedure may last a few days, occasionally longer, and some patients have more severe or sporadic pain than others. If you are considering having a PRP procedure done, you owe it to yourself to have a better understanding of the science behind this remarkable procedure

Autologous (from your own body) Growth Factor Components of PRP:

  • PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) contains many growth factors, and has been successfully used clinically to improve  tissue healing
  • TGF-αβ (Transforming growth factor alpha & beta)
  • EGF (Epidermal growth factor)
  • FGF (Fibroblast growth factor)
  • IGF (Insulin growth factor)
  • PDEGF (platelet derived epidermal growth factor)
  • PDAF (platelet derived angiogenesis factor)
  • IL-8 (Interleuking-8)
  • TNF-α (Tumor necrosis factor alpha)
  • CTGR (Connective tissue growth factor)GM-CSF (Granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor)
  • KGF (Keratinocyte growth factor)
  • Austin family medicine EmachinemaskedHigh concentration of leukocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils) for microbicidal events
  • High concentration of wound macrophages and other phagocytic cells, for biological debridement
  • Histamines, Serotonin, ADP, Thromboxane A2, and other vasoactive and chemotactic agents
  • High platelet concentration and native fibrinogen concentration for improved hemostasis

PRP Procedure: PRP signals the body to migrate your own stem cells into an injured area and accelerate the repair process.

  1. Collect blood: about 30- 60 cc of blood will be collected from your arm like a typical blood test
  2. Separate the platelets: a powerful centrifuge separates the crucial platelet growth factors from the rest of the blood
  3. Process the Platelet Rich Plasma: about 3-6 cc of highly concentrated PRP is produced
  4. Inject the injured joint or cosmetic area of concern with PRP: the PRP increases growth factors up to eight times