Among the groundbreaking medical techniques that have come to the fore to heal several chronic medical conditions, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) shows a promising treatment for several musculoskeletal injuries and dermatological conditions. The advanced and innovative technique is safe and is rapidly gaining ground in India.
“PRP is a simple, non-surgical treatment that uses cutting-edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It involves extraction and centrifugation of the blood that allows platelet-rich plasma to separate. Platelets contain hormones that promote growth and healing,” explains Dr Shuba Dharmana, cosmetic dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon and founder/CEO of LeJeune Group of MedSpas.
Stem cell therapy and PRP therapy are among the advanced regenerative treatments, which are often confused with each other.
“They both have very different properties. While stem cells have the ability to differentiate and form new cells, platelets are a small fragment of blood cells, which help in clotting and augmenting the healing process. The growth factors present in the platelets simulate the cells essential for faster recovery,” says Dr Upendra Srinivas, lab director, hematologist, Continental Hospitals.
PRP therapy has also attracted attention in the field of dermatology for its regenerative properties. “Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is used in cosmetic dermatology for acne scars and anti-aging. A patient using PRP will be able to avoid more invasive procedures. It is showing impressive results and is helpful in reducing lines, wrinkles, acne scars and also builds collagen. PRP stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanism by releasing growth factors,” says Dharmana.
The natural, alternative medical procedure has shown promising treatment for hair loss. Dharmana explains a PRP injection stimulates new growth, increases density, thickens the diameter of existing follicles and strengthens the roots because of new healing cycle that allows for new cell growth and restoration.
“PRP is done using a very fine needle just under the surface of the skin with multiple punctures. 3-5 sessions are necessary for hair treatment,” says Singh.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer
Foot ulcers can be painful as the healing process could be slow in diabetics. PRP is known to simulate cell multiplication and differentiation, which improves tissue healing and regeneration. “PRP injections also benefit planned patients and post-radiotherapy patients as an adjuvant therapy. However, it cannot claim to be the sole therapeutic modality in these medical conditions,” says Singh.
Path to Healing
As body’s first line of defense, platelets are mainly responsible for clotting to occur when a person bleeds. When platelets come in contact with the collagen fibers of the cut portion of the blood vessel (wound/injury), they release restorative chemicals that jump start the rehabilitation process. A PRP injection intensifies the restoration as it has high concentrations of platelets that are replete with growth factors.
As a non-surgical treatment, PRP therapy reduces pain and provides intermediate long-term relief. Patients face less risk of infection or allergic reactions as the platelets are of one’s blood. It is a short procedure without having to go through general anesthesia or a prolonged recovery.
Non-operative Orthopedic Solution
PRP injection is being used with increasing frequency for sports and orthopedic injuries. “Several scientific studies support the fact that PRP has the potential to preserve cartilage and reduce pain. It has been used in osteoarthritis specifically of the knee, to delay the degenerative changes caused by osteoarthritis, ”says Dr Kuldeep Singh, senior consultant, plastic, cosmetic & reconstructive surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. “PRP therapy can repair the joint lining, heals muscle sprain or ligament tears. It also benefits conditions like tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, collarbone arthritis, rotator cuff tear and early stages of knee arthritis,” says Dr A.K. Venkatachalam, consultant orthopedic surgeon, regenerative medicine and joint replacement, Chennai.
About 10 ml of PRP is injected either into the scalp, under the skin or around non-healing wounds within an hour of preparation,” says Singh.
“The blood is autologous,which comes from the person who is seeking the therapy and not taken elsewhere from some other donor,” says Srinivas.
“The preparation takes about 15 minutes. A numbing cream is necessary for the scalp, which makes the procedure less painful,” says Dharmana.
The process may be repeated every two weeks depending on the condition of the patient. “For orthopedic injuries, the patient can recover within 1-2 days and is a simple OPD procedure,” says Venkatachalam.
The cost varies and depends on the extent of hair fall, or the degeneration of the joint and the treatment may require multiple sessions. “It also depends on the cities and the medical facilities. It could range from Rs 8,000 to Rs 30,000 per session,” says Srinivas. “The average cost of PRP therapy for musculoskeletal conditions ranges from Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000,” says Venkatachalam.