You’ve heard people talking about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and you wonder whether it might play a role in healing your musculoskeletal damage. But before you commit, you want to know whether this new (to you) treatment is safe.
To answer this question, our team here at Pain Medicine Consultants wants to focus in this month’s blog post on the many benefits of PRP therapy, which includes a very good safety record.
What is PRP therapy?
The world of regenerative medicine, in which our goal is to encourage the regeneration and repair of tissues and organs, is relatively new. While we’ve long understood the regenerative properties within the human body, finding ways to best tap them have been ongoing.
One great result has been the emergence of PRP therapy, which uses the power of platelets to help damaged tissues to heal.
The platelets in your blood play a critical role in the wound-healing cascade. First, they come together to prevent you from bleeding out, quickly plugging damaged blood vessels.
Once that’s accomplished, your platelets release growth factors, which call on resources in your body to come and repair the tissues. In addition to these growth factors, platelets also carry cytokines and chemokines, which regulate your body’s inflammatory responses.
With PRP therapy, we draw a sample of your own blood and then use a special centrifuge to separate out the platelets, creating a concentrate. We then combine this concentrate with some plasma and inject the PRP directly into your damaged tissues.
The safety of PRP therapy
One of the primary reasons why PRP therapy is considered a safe approach to healing is that it’s autologous — we use your body’s own resources. This means that your body readily accepts the PRP treatments since we’re simply redirecting its own cells and tissues.
While you may experience some soreness and/or bruising at the site of your PRP injections, these potential side effects are short-lived and easily remedied with some ice and over-the-counter medications.
Of course, there’s always a risk of infection when we pierce your skin, but we administer your PRP injections under fully sanitized conditions. If you compare the risk of infection to that of surgery, the potential for infection is very small.
There have been many studies and clinical trials on the effectiveness of PRP therapy in treating everything from hair loss to knee osteoarthritis, and no safety concerns were found.
For example, in one clinical trial in which PRP therapy was used to address loss of smell in COVID patients, the researchers reported that PRP was safe with no adverse effects reported.
Our own experiences mirror those found in the studies, and our patients have found PRP to be both safe and effective.
If you’d like to learn more about PRP therapy, please contact one of our offices in Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, or Corte Madera, California, to schedule an appointment.