Platelet-rich plasma therapy has made headlines, often because it is favored by elite athletes to help them recover from injury.
Some doctors are now using platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP injections for several reasons, from encouraging hair growth to promoting soft tissue-healing.
However, research studies have not definitively proved that PRP works for the conditions it is reported to benefit. In this article, we have a look at the case for PRP, and the costs involved.
Fast facts about platelet-rich plasma therapy:
- Doctors use PRP to encourage healing and to reduce inflammation.
- A doctor doing a PRP injection will first draw blood from the person being treated.
- The costs for PRP injections can range from $500 to $2,000, according to Scientific American.
- Side effects can include mild nausea, passing out and dizziness.
How does it work?
Platelets are blood cells with several roles to play in the body.
One is to promote blood clotting so that a person does not excessively bleed when they are cut.
Another is to contain proteins in the blood that help wounds to heal.
Researchers theorize that by injecting areas of inflammation or tissue damage with high concentrations of platelets, it can encourage wounds to heal.
A small blood sample is taken from the person being treated and put into a centrifuge or other specialized device that spins at high speed. This process separates platelets from other blood components. The concentration of platelets is then injected into the area of the person's body that needs to be treated.
Because the injection contains a high concentration of platelets, which can be from 5 to 10 times more than the untreated blood, doctors theorize that the platelets will speed up healing.