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What is a platelet-rich plasma treatment?

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Quick Answer

Platelet-rich plasma treatment, or PRP, is used to ease such conditions as chronic injuries of the tendons, fractures, and injuries of the muscles and ligaments, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It is also used during surgery to support healing and is used to treat knee arthritis.

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Full Answer

PRP is blood plasma which has five to 10 times more platelets than normal, says the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The job of these platelets is to help the blood clot and to repair tissue. They do this by way of growth factor proteins.

To prepare PRP, blood is taken from the patient, and the plasma is separated out from the other blood components by a centrifuge, claims the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. When there are enough platelets, they are recombined with the patient's blood. The PRP is then either injected into the patient's injured area or actually stitched into the wound during surgery. Patients who have had PRP claim that the area that's been treated is even more painful for about a week or two, and several weeks can pass before they see any improvement.

PRP is also used in oral surgery, cardiovascular surgery, and surgeries of the head and neck, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Indications are that PRP seems to be of some use in healing soft tissue and helping bone regenerate after oral surgery.

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