Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of regenerative medicine. Instead of utilizing synthetic chemicals to regulate or repair the body, or invasive surgery to physically alter it, regenerative medicine uses the body’s own healing powers to address pain, injury, and disease.
PRP injections can help patients with injuries that have caused pain for years without relief from other treatments. It is a relatively new area of medicine with amazing potential to heal.
But are PRP injections safe? Below, we discuss the basics and specifics of platelets and PRP therapy.
What Are Platelets?
Platelets are cells contained in everyone’s blood that are involved in the healing process through clotting. Neither white nor red blood cells, platelets “respond” when there is damage to a blood vessel. When platelets respond to damage, they attract other platelets to aggregate as a protective clot.
When platelets are not active, they are shaped like flat discs that resemble plates. When there is a signal received by the platelets that they are required to mobilize and activate, their shape changes to a form in which they can “stick” together. The resulting clot prevents further leakage and damage.
Platelet count is an important measurement for people with cardiovascular disease and some blood disorders. Platelets also contain proteins that are involved in activating processes that heal the body.
How Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Works
By extracting your own blood and using a centrifuge to separate its components, doctors can create a concentrated substance called platelet-rich plasma that has many more times the number of platelets that are normally in the blood. This natural substance is then injected into an injured area of the body to help promote healing.
PRP therapy is a new science, so there have not yet been enough studies to discover exactly how concentrated platelets affect an injury. Many people report that PRP therapy worked to relieve pain and inflammation of orthopedic injuries or arthritis, and preliminary studies have shown it to be effective – especially when other methods of treatment have not worked for the patient.
Why PRP Injections Are Safe
PRP is called an “autologous” treatment because it comes from your own body. There is, therefore, no possibility that your body will reject it or have an allergic response since it is not from an outside source. This is the primary reason why PRP injections are considered so safe that potential side effects are minimal.
Any side effects of PRP injections are the same as with any injection, such as issues regarding sterility and the possibility of infection. As PRP therapy is a medical procedure, although minimally invasive, it is important to make sure that the physician has experience and credentials in the specific condition or injury requiring treatment.
Contact a Pain Specialist Today
PRP therapy has shown great potential in pain relief and healing of musculoskeletal conditions including tendinitis and arthritis. For joint pain or inflammation, the experienced and skilled physicians at STAR Spine & Sport provide cutting-edge treatments in regenerative medicine, including PRP injections.
Our board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists offer the latest in interventional pain technologies to help patients get back to their active lives as quickly as possible. For an evaluation and to get started on the road to recovery, call STAR Spine & Sport at (303) 238-4277 today or fill out our easy-to-use appointment request form. We see patients in three convenient locations: Golden, Westminster, and Denver.