What is PRP?

What is PRP?

PRP or platelet-rich plasma therapy is a treatment method that is applied in the form of injection of the blood taken from the person himself to the tissues planned to be treated in the body after undergoing various processes. It can be used for aesthetic problems such as hair loss and skin rejuvenation, as well as to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.

What is PRP? 

PRP is a form of treatment made by the injection of a substance obtained from the person’s own blood and consisting of the initials of the words in the expression ‘Platelet Rich Plasma’ in English. The injected substance is platelet-enriched plasma. Plasma is a component of blood that helps blood to clot and contains special cells called platelets or other factors and proteins. Plasma also contains various proteins that promote cell growth. By isolating and concentrating the plasma from the blood, the researchers obtained a blood component called PRP, which is a plasma richer in platelet cells.

Injecting PRP into damaged tissues encourages the growth of new, healthy cells in the body. PRP is also thought to promote healing in damaged tissue. Since tissue growth factors are more concentrated in the concentrated injection material, healing in body tissues is accelerated.

How is PRP treatment done? 

PRP therapy, which takes about 30-40 minutes to complete, begins with the collection of the patient’s blood in a tube. Platelet-rich plasma is used by separating it from other components of whole blood by centrifugation method. Because platelets act as a natural reservoir for growth factors needed to repair injured tissues. Growth factors secreted by platelets stimulate tissue healing by increasing collagen production and gene and protein expression in tendon stem cells. These growth factors also accelerate blood flow and make cartilages more rigid and flexible.

PRP injections can be done in different ways. For example, for hair loss, lidocaine, a local numbing solution, is applied if necessary before injecting into the scalp. For this, it may be necessary to come to the treatment session a little early. Usually, PRP is mixed with a local anesthetic to reduce the pain associated with the injection. Sometimes, PRP injection can be done together with the surgical procedure.

How is PRP applied? 

PRP injections are administered by specialist doctors trained in this field. The process is carried out in several successive steps. The path followed during the PRP application is as follows;

  • First of all, some blood is taken from the patient by the healthcare professional to prepare the PRP to be injected. The amount of blood taken depends on where the PRP is injected. For example, the amount of blood taken for injection into the scalp for hair loss is approximately 20 milliliters.
  • The blood sample taken into the tube under sterile conditions is placed in a centrifuge device. Centrifuge is a machine that rotates very quickly and ensures the separation of blood components. The separation process takes about 15 minutes. This process separates platelets from other blood components.
  • The separated plasma is then made ready for injection into the affected area. With the procedure, plasma containing concentrated platelets is obtained.
  • Imaging methods such as ultrasound are used to identify areas where injections are planned, such as tendons.
  • After the injection area is determined, the prepared PRP is injected into the affected area.

Since the injection contains 5 to 10 times more platelet concentration than normal blood, PRP is thought to have an accelerating effect on healing. The time from the blood collection to the completion of the procedure usually covers a period of half an hour.

Why is PRP applied? 

PRP is used to speed healing and reduce inflammation. Platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP injections can be used for various reasons, such as promoting hair growth, skin rejuvenation, and accelerating soft tissue healing. Platelet activation plays an important role in the body’s natural healing process and a large amount of platelets are injected into the target area with PRP.

Since it is applied with the substance obtained from the person’s own blood, it does not cause serious side effects, increasing the applicability of PRP. However, according to scientific studies, the benefits of PRP have not been proven precisely because it is a new treatment method.

What are the usage areas of PRP? 

PRP injections are used to treat a number of conditions and ailments. Among the areas where PRP is most frequently preferred are the following;

  • Hair loss:  PRP injections can be made into the scalp to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. According to studies, PRP injections have been shown to be effective in the treatment of androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness. Good results can be obtained in hair loss of genetic origin, especially in men. PRP can also be applied in combination with hair mesotherapy.
  • Tendon injuries:  Tough, thick bands of tissue that connect muscles to bone are called tendons. Usually tendons heal slowly after injury. PRP injections can be used to treat chronic tendon problems such as tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis in the ankle, or pain or inflammation of the patellar tendon in the knee.
  • Post-operative repair:  PRP injections are sometimes used after surgery to repair a torn tendon or ligaments, such as the rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder.
  • Osteoarthritis (Calcification):  PRP is injected into the joints of patients with osteoarthritis, such as knees and hips. According to a small number of studies, PRP injections have been found to be more effective than hyaluronic acid injections in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
  • Skin Rejuvenation:  PRP injections can be used for signs of aging on the skin due to aging and environmental factors. With the application, positive effects such as an increase in skin elasticity and a decrease in wrinkles can be observed. PRP can also be preferred to get rid of scars on the skin. 

Since PRP is a very new treatment method, its effectiveness has not been fully clarified yet.

What are the possible side effects of PRP? 

PRP has potential side effects due to injection into the skin. Since PRP contains substances taken directly from the body, the risk of allergic reaction is less than the risk of an allergic reaction caused by injecting other drugs such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid. However, there are several risks from the injection itself, including:

  • Infection
  • Nerve injuries
  • pain at the injection site
  • Bleeding
  • tissue damage

The majority of patients can return to daily activities immediately after the procedure.

How long is the recovery time for PRP injections? 

When a PRP injection is made to the related area after the injury, the doctor may recommend resting the affected area. However, the recommendation for rest is more related to the degree of injury. Most people are able to resume their daily activities immediately following PRP injections regardless of injury.

There is no immediate difference after PRP injections, because growth factors must first be activated. Therefore, within a few weeks or months after the application, it may be noticed that the injured area heals faster or more hair grows on the scalp than expected.

In how many sessions is PRP treatment completed?

For the treatment of arthritis or chronic tendinitis, most patients need 2-3 sessions of PRP treatment. In acute muscle injuries, 1-2 sessions are often sufficient. Age is an important factor that determines the amount of sessions needed. Because the number of stem cells in the body will decrease as you get older, more sessions may be needed for treatment.

PRP sessions are usually applied at 2-week intervals. It is planned to have an average of 3-8 sessions according to the needs and illness of the person.  It can be combined with mesotherapy for hair loss and skin rejuvenation  . After the sessions are completed, injections can be continued 1-2 times a year.