It sounds almost magical. A doctor takes some blood from a patient and puts it through a filtering system or spins it in a centrifuge at high speed, which separates red and white blood cells from the platelets (Typically a 15 minute or so process.) He then injects the platelets along with the blood plasma they are floating in into an injured or diseased area, typically a torn ligament or tendon. The injury heals up.
How is this possible for platelets to pull off such a medical feat? Don’t platelets just help blood clot normally? They do. But this isn’t all they do. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is rich in growth factors and compounds such as serotonin, fibronectin, adenosine diphosphate, thromboxane A, platelet factor 4, platelet derived growth factor, platelet activating factor and transforming growth factor beta, and SDF-1 that directly effects tissue repair as well as activates stem cells and encourage them to proliferate and grow wherever the PRP is placed.
And because Plasma-Rich Platelets (PRP) is typically injected in places where blood would rarely go otherwise, it can facilitate healing without triggering a clotting response. It can thus shorten rehabilitation time and even make surgery unnecessary in some cases.
Depending on the medical issue he is treating, Dr. Steenblock takes a patient’s PRP and either injects or infuses it directly into the diseased or damaged tissue (such as an arthritic joint) or mixes it with a patient’s own (harvested) bone marrow and then infuses it – or both. The patient responses have often been impressive, even dramatic.