What is PRP?
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. It is simply blood that has been treated so that the growth factors and cell signaling molecules (cytokines) responsible for wound healing become highly concentrated.
How does PRP work?
When concentrated correctly, the platelet rich plasma can stimulate healing by giving tissue a boost of all the factors it needs to regenerate. Platelets contain many growth factors responsible for stimulating blood vessel growth and fibroblast (the cells that make collagen) proliferation. Platelets also contain proteins that control growth of new skin cells, hyaluronic acid production and many other factors in wound healing. Studies over the last five years have shown that exposure to high concentrations of these growth factors significantly improved healing in certain burns, graft adhesion and general wound healing1,2, 3. There have also been many publication for PRPs use in the orthopedic literature for tendon and joint injury where due to poor blood supply slow healing is very common.
Is PRP effective?
The answer to this depends on two major factors: How good is the quality of the PRP and what is it being used for? High quality PRP has been shown to work consistently in healing second degree burns, superficial trauma and graft adhesion. There is also consistently good data for PRP as a treatment for multiple causes of shoulder, knee and elbow pain. PRP has also be studied and shows some excellent preliminary data for treatment of alopecia (hair loss) due to various conditions and in general hair restoration.
How do you get high quality PRP?
The trick to the best PRP is how the blood is treated in order to separate and concentrate the platelet rich plasma. In most systems, the blood is spun in a centrifuge where at a certain level a layer spills off. Although this will isolate some platelets the total counts tend to be poor and many of the other growth factors are lost in this separation process. A better way to isolate the growth factors needed is optical photometry. Devices like the Megellan PRP machine, use light and sensors to constantly measure the plasma as it spins in order to collect the best mix of platelets and growth factors. Optical photometry is much more consistent than older spin methods and ensures platelet concentration that can be as high as 14 times. This helps ensure the most effective PRP treatment.
If you feel PRP treatment is right for you, schedule your consultation today! Contact us by calling (303) 683-3235 or fill out our online contact form.
2010 Feb;36(1):4-8. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 Jun 21.
2016 Jun;42(4):807-14. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2016.01.002. Epub 2016 Jan 25.
Waiker V, Shivalingappa S. Comparison between conventional mechanical fixation and use of autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP) in wound beds prior to resurfacing with split-thickness skin graft. World J Plast Surg. 2015;4(1):50-59.