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Pearls with Paige: What is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and how does it work?

July 30, 2018

Although blood is mainly a liquid (called plasma), it also contains small solid components (red cells, white cells, and platelets.) The platelets are best known for their importance in clotting blood. However, platelets also contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries. PRP is plasma with many more platelets than what is typically found in blood. The concentration of platelets — and, thereby, the concentration of growth factors — can be 5 to 10 times greater (or richer) than usual. To develop a PRP preparation, blood must first be drawn from a patient. The platelets are separated from other blood cells and their concentration is increased during a process called centrifugation. Then the increased concentration of platelets is combined with the remaining blood. Studies have shown that the increased concentration of growth factors in PRP can potentially speed up the healing process of an injury site! Conditions commonly treated with PRP include chronic tendon injuries (tennis elbow) and acute ligament and muscle injuries. Ask your surgeon today if PRP is right for you!

  • Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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