As one of regenerative medicine's starring treatments, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are increasingly used in many medical fields, from orthopedics and dental surgery to dermatology and rheumatology.
PRP's ability to activate healing and reduce inflammation make it a valuable option for a wide range of health conditions. But if you're considering PRP, it's important to consult with a medical professional like Behnam Khaleghi, MD, at Pacific Rheumatology, who has extensive experience in regenerative medicine.
Though PRP has proven benefits, treatment guidelines are still being researched and developed. That means you need a specialist who has the experience to make decisions about whether your rheumatologic condition may improve with PRP, and if so, the optimal concentration of platelets for your unique condition.
In this blog post, we talk about how PRP works and the conditions that often benefit from PRP injections.
Platelets are normally found in your bloodstream, which is why we make your PRP treatment from a sample of your own blood. Any time you're injured, platelets go to the damaged tissues and release a barrage of proteins called growth factors.
Growth factors then trigger healing activities, such as:
- Regulating and diminishing inflammation
- Stimulating new blood vessel growth
- Promoting cellular growth and development
- Preventing degeneration of healthy tissues
- Supporting tissue rebuilding
- Recruiting stem cells to the area
When you get a PRP injection, we precisely inject the platelets at the site of the injured tissues. Then the platelets immediately send out growth factors that initiate these healing activities.
The extra boost of injected platelets accelerates healing. PRP gives your body the support it needs when your own healing response slows down or is overwhelmed by a chronic or serious problem.
The conditions we frequently treat with PRP include arthritis, and tendonitis.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the synovial tissues lining your joints. This causes significant inflammation that damages other structures in the joint, including cartilage and bone.
Though rheumatoid arthritis can affect any joint, it typically begins in the small joints of your fingers, wrists, toes, and feet. It also has the hallmark symptom of affecting the same joint on both sides of your body.
No matter which joint is affected, injecting PRP can reduce your pain and inflammation, while improving joint function.
Along with sports injuries, osteoarthritis tops the list of conditions most often treated with PRP. This type of arthritis occurs over years of repetitive movement and stress on the joint. As a result, the cartilage that covers and protects bones wears away, exposing the bones and allowing them to grate against one another.
Osteoarthritis usually begins in large, weight-bearing joints such as your knees, hips, and shoulders. Many patients with osteoarthritis find that their pain and joint mobility improve as PRP heals the remaining cartilage and fights inflammation.
Tendons connect muscles to bones, making them vulnerable to repetitive movements that pull or tear the tendon and cause inflammation. That’s when you have tendonitis. Many tendons heal slowly because their blood supply is limited.
The longer it takes to heal, the higher the risk that weak scar tissue will develop instead of strong collagen fibers. Ongoing inflammation also weakens the tendon and increases the chance that it might rupture.
The influx of platelets from a PRP injection helps both problems. In addition to speeding healing and reducing inflammation, PRP reduces scarring by promoting the growth of blood vessels and collagen.
To learn how PRP may help you, call Pacific Rheumatology or book an appointment online today.To learn how PRP may help you, call Pacific Rheumatology or book an appointment online today.