PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma. What is this new phenomenon?
What is it?
Platelets form part of the blood and produce growth factors that assist in the repair of tissues. It is therefore believed that a higher concentration of platelets applied to an injured tissue will help it heal faster.
How are the number of platelets increased?
A blood test is performed. The blood is then centrifuged or spun and divided into its various components. The level of platelets is increased and the then concentrated platelets are applied for example by an injection to the site of injury.
Does it work?
PRP has been around since the 1980s but has only begun to gain popularity in the past decade. However, it has been found to have only very marginal clinical benefit. In other words, it has not been shown to conclusively demonstrate a reduction in patients’ symptoms. Furthermore, as PRP is an expensive method of treatment and with little efficacy it should therefore not be a first port of call compared to other treatments.