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PRP Basics

 

What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)?

PRP is simple, quick and safe.  In addition to just triggering the body’s natural healing mechanism, mostly achieving pain reduction, it also turbo-charges it, addressing the cause of the problem by helping regenerate tissue.

Blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet cells, all suspended in a liquid called plasma.  Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) simply refers to blood with a high concentration of platelets.

Why seek more platelets?  Platelets are important because they help initiate a healing response.  In the event of an injury or tissue damage, the body naturally directs platelets to the injured area to initiate a healing response.  Injecting a concentrated platelet solution not only mimics the natural healing process, but also enhances it, speeding recovery.

How do platelets improve healing? Platelets contain so-called growth factors.  These growth factors are thought to be the key components that enable healing.  In particular, they have been proven to stimulate stem cell growth and proliferation.  Stem cells being “blank cells”, they can transform into the specialized cells needed to repair an injury site, providing the raw material or “glue” used for tissue regeneration.

To put it all together, PRP is by definition very rich in platelets, translating into more growth factors, in turn stimulating and increasing the number of stem cells, resulting in faster repair and more efficient recovery.

What conditions respond well to PRP?

Since PRP works by helping with generating tissue, any condition that can benefits from tissue repair is a potential candidate.  For example:

  • Wounds
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Muscle tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Bursitis

What happens during PRP treatment?

The first step is to draw blood from your pet.  The blood is then separated into its red blood cell, white blood cell, plasma, and platelet components using a centrifuge mechanism.  Our dedicated laboratory employs certified personnel and uses the top equipment required by the FDA for human treatments.  This ensures that the platelets are carefully concentrated under strict guidelines for sterility and quality control.

Once the PRP solution is ready, your pet is placed under a local or short general anesthesia and the PRP is injected into the target area(s).  A single injection can thus be administered.  However, multiple injections, sometimes 10-15 different ones, can greatly benefit your pet by covering the entire area in need of healing.  The number and placement of the individual injections depends on the severity and duration of your pet’s injury.

This procedure can be confined to a single session, but in most serious injuries, we find that it is best to repeat it 3-6 times, at approximately 4-week intervals.  To that end, we offer packages when appropriate.

A follow-up visit is scheduled approximately two weeks after the initial treatment.  At that time, the veterinarian will conduct an evaluation and suggest or refine any decision regarding the need for additional treatments. A single PRP treatment seems to provide relief for most pets for a period of a few months. In acute or chronic injuries however, repeated treatment is most effective and lasting.

What should I expect after PRP treatment?

For most pets, the procedure only takes an hour or two and you can both come home immediately after.  Once the numbing effects of anesthesia subside, your pet will experience some soreness at the site of the treatment.  As with most pain, icing the injection area for 15 minutes 2-3 times a day for the first few days will help ease the pain and inflammation.  Most pets experience noticeable improvement in their mobility within a week or two and can resume normal activity.

Are PRP injections safe?

PRP treatment is extremely safe.  Research and clinical data has shown conclusively that PRP injections have practically no adverse side effects and rare minimal adverse reactions or complications.  This is true in both animals and humans.  Since PRP is simply a portion of your pet’s own blood with a different concentration, there is no issue with disease transmission or immune rejection.  In fact, some studies suggest that it may have antibacterial properties that actually help protect the body against infection.  Injections are extremely safe and can be combined with other treatments, medications and supplements if desired. As with any injection, there is a very small risk of infection, but this is rare, and minimized by our strict adherence to proper medical practices (sterile, closed environments, use of only FDA-approved equipment, etc.)

For in-depth scientific information, please CLICK HERE or use the Library menu “PRP Science” option.