PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) - also called autologous platelet gel, platelet concentrate (PC) or plasma rich in growth factor (PRGF) - is blood plasma which has a high concentration of platelets (blood component responsible for clotting).
Blood contains around 93% of red blood cells or RBCs, 1% of white blood cells and 6% of platelets, all of which are suspended in plasma. In Platelet Rich Plasma, the RBC percentage is around 5%, and the platelet concentration increases to 94% approximately.
PRP is autologous, which means it is obtained from the patient. Hence, it is free from the risk of mismatch transfusion and transmission of blood-borne infections like HIV.
These platelets in the PRP are a rich source of chemicals called growth factors and cytokines, which play a pivotal role in tissue healing. Owing to this property, PRP has been successfully used in various medical disciplines like Dermatology, Orthopedics, and Dentistry.
Blood collected from the patient is treated with an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting. This sample is then subjected to two rounds of centrifugation (the blood is put in a machine that spins it at high speed, and this helps separate the various blood components). The platelet count in the plasma after centrifugation is roughly five times the normal platelet count.
Platelet Rich Plasma was developed in 1970 and was first used in Italy in an open heart surgery in 1987. However, PRP started gaining popularity in the mid-90s, and its efficacy has been proven in various clinical scenarios like:
Autologous PRP is used in the rejuvenation of skin, both epithelium and mesenchyme. It is one of the significant treatments in cosmetic anti-aging procedures.
PRP is used in the treatment of many bone conditions. Quite interestingly, many miscellaneous conditions are treated by PRP. Dupytren contracture, epicondylitis, Plantar fasciitis etc are treated by PRP injections.
Since Platelet Rich Plasma is derived from the patient’s body (autologous), hence, the chances of an immune reaction or hypersensitivity are almost nil:
It is always good to remember to talk to your doctor before seeking PRP therapy. Since this therapy requires a certain degree of expertise, approaching a qualified healthcare provider is ideal.