PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, is a substance that’s injected in different parts of the body to promote healing. At JW Family Medicine in Fulshear, Texas, patients ask about the uses and benefits of PRP. Plasma is the fluid that carries blood cells through the body. Platelets are normally present in plasma, along with red and white blood cells. In PRP, platelet-rich plasma is extracted from blood and injected into different body parts to promote healing and growth.
At JW Family Medicine, we perform these procedures if we believe a person will benefit from them. Generally, PRP injections should only be done by doctors to guarantee that they’re done right.
One of the most popular uses of PRP is in the treatment of hair loss. Those with male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, benefit greatly from PRP according to studies done in 2014. PRP has plenty of musculoskeletal benefits too.
We can inject PRP to speed up the healing of tendons. Tendons are thick structures that help attach muscles to bones. They don’t usually heal very fast, and the process can be sped up by PRP. Acute muscular injuries also benefit from PRP.
There’s some research on the benefit of PRP in treating osteoarthritis and that it may be more beneficial than hyaluronic acid. More research needs to be done, though, as the initial study only contained a small number of patients.
The platelets and plasma used in PRP injections are derived from your blood. When you come for your visit, we’ll draw some blood from your vein and put it in a centrifuge to separate it into different components. We then extract platelet-rich plasma for the infusion. This takes about 15 minutes.
Once we have the PRP, we can use an ultrasound to locate the structure we’re going to inject if it’s a tendon or ligament. The entire process should take less than 30 minutes and isn’t painful. You’ll just feel the needle twice. The first time is when we draw the blood, then again during the injection.