Platelets are one of the many cell types that circulate in our blood (plasma). The important role that platelets play in forming a blood clot is well known, and for many years that was all we thought platelets did. In recent years we have discovered that Platelets also play a very important role in the healing process. Platelets contain many different molecules, or proteins, called Growth Factors. Growth Factors function to assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating other cells to regenerate new tissue. Platelets therefore not only help to form blood clots, but they truly represent the very first step in the healing process.
Over the past ten years the technology has existed in major operating rooms where blood could be drawn from the patient and placed in a large and expensive cell separators, which separated and concentrated the platelets from the rest of the blood. This concentrated volume of platelets (Platelet Rich Plasma) and the millions of specialized Growth Factors within the platelets was then applied to the patient's wound to help the patient heal.
This incredible technology is now available in the office setting, so we can now provide this wonderful service for our patients at a reasonable cost. Platelet Rich Plasma involves removing about 55 cc of blood (about half a coffee cup) from the patient just prior to the procedure. The blood is actually drawn after the patient has been sedated, so the procedure is painless. The blood is then placed into a special centrifuge device that separates out and concentrates the Platelets. This highly concentrated volume of platelets is called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). This platelet concentrate (PRP) is then applied to the surgical area and literally jump starts the healing process. Not only does Platelet Rich Plasma promote and accelerate the healing process, but it helps to decrease post-operative swelling, bruising, and pain.
Platelet Rich Plasma is completely safe, because it merely involves taking something from the patient they already have, concentrating it, and then immediately giving it back to them in order to accelerate the healing process. There is no need to pre-donate blood, because the blood is drawn the same day of the surgery. In conclusion, PRP permits the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a greatly accelerated rate, and therefore helps the body to heal faster and more efficiently.
For more information about PRP please visit the Harvest Technologies web site.