What’s a Platelet?

If you’re considering PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, you might ask yourself, “What’s a Platelet?” Platelets are the smallest of our blood cells and can only be seen under a microscope.  Platelets are literally shaped like small plates in their non-active form. When they are activated they grow tentacles and travel to a site of injury in the body.

Platelets, best known for their role in blood clotting, also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors.   These key growth factors are very important in the healing of injuries and are required for tissue repair.   When you have an injury, a blood vessel will send out a signal that it’s become damaged. When platelets receive that signal, they’ll respond by traveling to the area and releasing their cargo of growth factors to assist in the healing process.

For countless reasons, your body sometimes doesn’t deliver enough platelets to heal the injury completely.  That’s why sometimes you heal and sometimes you don’t.

PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma, is a treatment that takes your own blood, then processes that blood to extract a plasma high in platelets.  This plasma contains a higher concentration level of platelets than what would typically be found in your blood.  The concentration of growth factors can be 5 to 10 times richer than usual.

PRP is not really new.  It’s been around for decades. It’s important to note that PRP is most effective when properly processed and, if it’s delivered to the exact area of injury.  Even though the success of PRP therapy still lacks large-scale research findings, treatment with platelet-rich plasma holds great promise.

Here is a partial list of current PRP applications being used to accelerate healing.

  • Chronic tendon injuries
  • Surgery
  • Cosmetic/Anti-aging facial applications
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Acute ligament and muscle injuries

The risks associated with PRP are minimal: There may be increased pain at the injection site, but the incidence of other problems — infection, tissue damage, nerve injuries — appears to be no different from that associated with cortisone injections.

Schedule a consultation to see if PRP therapy is right for you.

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