Also called PRP, platelet-rich plasma injections use your own platelets to help stimulate healing and tissue regeneration in areas of injury. Like white and red blood cells, platelets are an important component of blood, playing a major role in the clotting process. Platelets also contain special proteins called growth factors which contribute to the body's natural healing processes. When PRP is injected into the site of injury, those growth factors help promote the development of new, healthy tissue to help heal injuries more quickly.
PRP is made of your own blood, which is drawn and then processed using a special instrument that separates the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelets are then re-injected into the body at the injury site. The PRP injection process results in a concentration of platelets that's about five times the normal concentration so healing can be achieved more quickly. Since PRP is made from your own blood, you don't have to worry about allergic reactions or “rejections” that can sometimes occur when donor products are used.
In podiatry as in other medical specialties, PRP injections can be used to treat impact trauma, arthritis, tendon and ligament injuries, and other injuries affecting the soft and connective tissues of the foot and ankle. PRP may also be administered during some types of surgery to help “jump start” the healing process as soon as the surgical procedure is complete.
Many patients respond with one or two treatments, but in some cases, additional injections may be needed, especially when tissue damage is extensive. Most patients experience the full benefits of treatment at about six weeks following injection, at which time an evaluation can be performed to determine if additional treatments could be beneficial.
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