By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Imagine your blood being drawn and placed in a machine. Minutes later, it is injected back to the injured area with a premise that it will heal faster and on its own without surgery, anesthesia, or downtime. This is the promise of PRPs, or Platelet Rich Plasma. Considered a breakthrough by some in the medical field, and studies and physicians say that it effectively heals damaged tissue, even after all other treatments have been proven ineffective. But can you really heal better and faster with your own blood?
Platelets have a vital role in tissue healing as it contains growth factors, or proteins that initially aid in repair and regrowth of tissue, from tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. This is what led the Platelet Rich Plasma treatment. PRP has been around for years, initially offered to athletes and introduced as treatment for sports-related injuries such as acute muscle and ligament sprains and tears, bone fractures, and damaged tendons, because as mentioned, it accelerates healing and thus, helps athletes get back on track faster. PRP therapy is done by collecting blood from the patient and is placed in a centrifuge. The blood is spun in high speeds in minutes until the platelet rich plasma separates from the red blood cells. The PRP is then injected back into the location of injury or trauma. Since the PRP comes from the patient’s own blood, allergic reactions, infections, and side effects are avoided, making it a safer treatment option than others like the use of chemicals. This attracts patients to try PRP because of its “organic” nature. Moreover, most patients can go back to their day-to-day activities as it requires almost no downtime, as there is no surgery, anesthesia, or incision involved. In other countries, including the Philippines, there are some hospitals and clinics that offer PRP not only for sports-related injuries, but also for cosmetic treatments such as anti-aging and skin rejuvenation, including the reduction of acne scars, fine lines, sun damage, and dark undereye circles, with results lasting for weeks.
But if PRP is a safe, effective treatment from muscle strains, tendon damage, to skin aging, why aren’t all physicians offering this option? This is because it seems that the use of PRP needs more studies and research to be proven, although more people are attesting to its almost immediate positive effects on them post-treatment. Some athletes experience relief in as fast as a week that they have not felt otherwise without PRP. Others are amazed at how PRP hastens healing and cuts rehabilitation time because of its non-invasive and non-surgical feature. And others who have tried PRP for cosmetic reasons swear by the “glow” it gives.
If you are interested in exploring this kind of treatment, either for sports-related or cosmetic purposes, you may ask your physician or dermatologist about PRP. While it has mixed reviews, most patients that have tried it are proof of the healing power of Platelet Rich Plasma.