Injecting platelet rich plasma (PRP = “platelet rich plasma”) is a revolutionary treatment based on a simple idea: that of using the internal resources of each organism for the healing and regeneration of tissues. Among the most important factors involved in these complex processes are the platelets (or thrombocytes), cells found in blood and which intervene immediately after a trauma, by stopping the bleedings (initiate the coagulation process) and by curing the wounds. In fact, the platelets are storage units containing over 40 growth factors involved in conjunctive and epithelial tissue regeneration, increase of collagen production, forming new blood vessels, etc.
The thrombocytes (from Greek θρόμβος thrombos “clot” + κύτος kytos, “cell”), having the alternate name of blood platelets, are blood cells with a role in the complex homeostasis process, taking part in the formation of thrombus, as well as a source of the growth factors. The thrombocytes do not have a nucleus and cannot reproduce, but contain large quantities of proteins, enzymes, hormones, calcium ions, etc., which contribute to the fulfillment of their physiological purpose. For example, the thrombocytes produce a growth factor which stimulates the multiplication and development of smooth vascular muscle tissue, thus contributing to the restoration of the vascular walls. The membrane of the thrombocyte has a glycoprotein coating which prevents the adherence to the normal endothelium of vessels, but which also ensures the adherence to the injured parts of the wall. It must be noted that the normal endothelium synthesizes in its turn substances which inhibits the activity and adherence of thrombocytes, thus preventing thrombosis.
The platelet rich plasma (PRP) is prepared by harvesting a small amount of blood from the patient (similar to harvesting for blood tests), which is then worked using the centrifuge, a process which separates the platelets from the other blood cells. The liquid obtained is plasma rich in platelets, so a concentrated cocktail of growth factors able to significantly influence tissue regeneration.
The virtues of platelets treatment are known for several years, being applied initially in sports medicine, for healing bone and tendon and ligament lesions and for the fast recuperation of performance sportsmen. Now, the indication of PRP treatment have expanded and it is used for the regeneration of nerves, bones, cardiac muscle, healing difficult wounds, improving the skin condition.
The PRP infiltration the (thrombocytes enriched plasma) acts according to the natural healing system of the organism. The advantage is in the high concentration of thrombocytes which, once injected, release growth factors which initiate and amplify the healing process.
The healing process is performed in three stages
– The inflammatory stage – sets in immediately after infiltration and for up to 72 hours after it. In this stage the patient can suffer pain amplification due to the local inflammation;
– The cellular proliferation – this second stage of the healing process is very important due to the very large number of new cells forming in the perimeter of the injured tissue, given the large number of growth factors released;
– The tissue remodeling – this last stage of healing is represented by the differentiation of newly formed cells, cells which replace the ones destroyed by the lesion, thus forming the noble tissue. The advantages of the PRP treatment
– The risk of infection is considerably reduced due to the use of autologous blood and of the thread sterile system of the container and syringes used for harvesting, centrifuging and infiltration
– Favors the regeneration of noble tissue in place of lesions. Thus it acts on the cause of pain unlike other therapies whose role is reflected only onto the momentary effect of releasing the pain without stopping degeneration
– It acts exactly like the natural healing system of the organism, which it amplifies due to the very large number of growth factors
Frequent afflictions which can be treated using PRP in the ambulatory:
– lateral epicondylitis
– plantar fasciitis
– Achilles heel tendinitis
– patellar tendinitis
– chondropathies of incipient stage
Frequent afflictions which can be treated using PRP in surgery:
– cartilage reconstruction
– anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
– rotating cuff lesions
– labrum lesions
– muscular lesions
Which common diagnosis are treated with products derived from plasma?
SHOULDER: rotating cuff – tendinitis or rupture, impingement syndrome or bursitis, bicipital tendinitis, labrum rupture, arthrosis
ELBOW: epicondylitis – tennis player elbow, golf player elbow, DeQuervain’s tendonitis, arthrosis
HIP: Iliotibial tendinitis, Iliopsoas tendinitis and bursitis, larger trochanteric bursitis, arthrosis
KNEE: patellar tendinitis, partial ruptures (ACL/LCL/MCL), meniscus degenerative lesions, chondromalacia
ANKLE: Achilles heel tendinitis, peroneal tendinitis, sprained ankle
SPINE: Whiplash type damage, sprains
SHOULDER: rotating cuff of rotating muscles tendinitis, subacromial bursitis, brachial biceps muscle tendinitis, Slap lesion, arthritis, arthrosis
ELBOW: lateral / median epicondylitis, tenosynovitis, arthrosis
HIP: iliotibial tract syndrome, iliopsoas muscle tendinitis, trochanteric tendinitis, labrum lesions, sacroiliac arthritis (sacroiliitis)
KNEE: kneecap tendinitis, quadrigeminal tendinitis, arthrosis, LIA, LIP rupture, meniscus (post surgery), arthritis
ANKLE: Achilles heel tendinitis, peroneal, posterior tibia tendonitis, arthrosis
SPINE: disk and ligament related afflictions, multifidus muscle atrophy