Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or blood plasma is the source of concentrated platelet content present in blood. Platelets are developed from stem cells in the bone narrow. The average platelet count in person’s blood is between 111,000 to 523,000 as a mean platelet count. The functions of platelets in the blood, clot wounds (Platelets bind to the site of the wound forming an adhesion. Eventually forming a scab to protect the healing skin underneath), and release growth factors (GF) in a wound (autologous). Growth Factors function to assist the human body to repair itself by stimulating cells to regenerate new tissue. Laboratories in hospitals are able to separate platelets from blood, through a process of centrifuge. When a patient platelets is separated out of the blood and then administered or injected), more growth factors or concentrated amount is sequestered or directed into a wound (Average platelet count increases range: 595,000 to 1,100,000 – Average increase of 338%), permitting the body to heal faster and more efficiently.
Donating blood is vital for many lifesaving medical treatments, especially for the need of platelets. Only two tablespoons of platelets are collected from a whole blood donation. Six whole blood donations must be separated and pool to provide a single platelet transfusion. Platelet transfusions are necessary for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, patients undergoing open heart surgery and victims of traumatic injuries. According to the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration, platelets can only be stored up to five days and room temperature. Preserving the inventory, old platelets are used first and supply demand creates a chronic shortage. Platelets cannot be refrigerated like whole blood for a month, because the potency of the platelets effectiveness would diminish faster from the body, after being administered.
The process of Platelet Apheresis collects enough platelets from a single donor, providing for a single platelet transfusion. Blood is drawn from a donor’s vein into an aphreresis instrument, which separates the blood into separate portions by adjusting the instrument. Selective portions of the blood (platelets) can be recovered, while the rest of the blood is returned to the donor either into the same vein or into a vein in the other arm. After donating blood, within forty — hours, human body should replenish the donated platelets. Donating platelets can be done every forty-eight hours but no more than twenty-four times a year. Apherisis donation consists of four steps: Registration, health history and mini — physical, donation, and refreshments. The entire process average length of time: One and half hours to two and half hours. Patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic (disorders of the blood) diseases do not qualify for this procedure.
In 2002, Medtronic medical technology company (Minneapolis, Minnesota) started manufacturing the Medtronic Magellan Autologous Platelet Separator, (approved by the Food and Drug Administration) requiring only a small sample of blood (30-60 cc) and process in a closed, germ — free environment: Blood born disease transmission is avoided. The system separates blood into three basic components: Platelet poor plasma, platelet rich plasma and red blood cells. The mixed platelet poor plasma and platelet rich plasma results in a gel — like substance, known as concentrated platelet rich plasma. This gel — like substance when sprayed into wounds or incisions, healing begins instantly. Studies have shown in cardiac surgery patients, wounds healed faster and patients experience less pain, compared using traditional pain pump. Also, the system is more cost effective compared more expensive equipment.
Beneficially a patient’s (human and animal) own platelet rich plasma (concentration) growth factors are used for tissue healing pathways at a greatly accelerated rate, during cartilage repair, complex meniscal repair, complex ligament repair or complex tendon repair. Also, PRP procedure, improves the healing of surgical wounds, minimizes possible infection (No infectious risk to the patient because it is made from the patient’s own blood and plasma.), reduction in swelling, reduction in pain, minimized bruising and reduction size visible scaring. During animal and human research studies, transfusion of platelet rich plasma induces more predictably bone growth and faster. This can offer a significant advantage during dental implants or oral surgeries, sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation procedure, and closure cleft, lip and plate defects. Also, improved surgical treatment during repair of centrifugation fistulas (Abnormal connection or passageway between organs or vessels that normally do not connect. Fistulas usually caused by injury or surgery (sometimes infection or inflammation.)) between the sinus cavity and mouth. Stanford University surgeon Allan Msihra, draws a patient’s blood and separates out the platelet rich plasma. It’s then injected back into the patient, which helps tendon (or tendons) to heal or provide treatment for tendonitis. Tendons degenerate in the knee and elbow (tennis elbow). Dr. Msihra said: “It’s amazing that your body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and all we are doing here is concentrating that ability and getting it back to an area where you are having a problem.” In his pilot study, on tennis elbow, it worked as well as surgery and may even prove to be better. The advantage of this procedure is less costly and virtually risk — free. In 2006, Researchers at the University of Barcelona reported use of PRP in horses, sustained tendon and ligament injuries. Lameness and flexion test (Provides information if there is inflammation in the hoof area) scores improved after PRP injection in six of six horses, compared to traditional treatment of these injuries, often required six to twelve months for rehabilitation. Some horses returned to work as soon as two month after PRP injection. Further studies are being examined, if platelet rich plasma can help build up new heart muscles in cardiac patients.