PRP therapy is an injection of your own platelets to use their impressive regenerative abilities. This treatment is used cosmetically and can also help expedite the healing of muscle and joint injuries. If you have been looking into this treatment, you may be wondering how it works and how often the treatment should be repeated. At IV Wellness in Winter Park, FL, our goal is to help you find those answers.
How Often Should You Get PRP Therapy?
Understanding the First Treatments
Depending on what your condition requires, you may expect to receive about three initial PRP therapy treatments. These starter treatments will be spaced out about a month or two from each other before you are moved on to maintenance treatments.
Your individual treatment plan may differ slightly from this depending on what results you need and how your body responds to treatment. During a consultation, you can be given a more specific timeline if your situation requires something different. Some patients only need a single treatment before they notice results, while others will need more.
After your first treatment, or series of treatments, most patients can expect to receive a single treatment every four to six months to maintain their results. Of course, this can also be somewhat flexible depending on your individual case. You may find when six months have passed that you’re still happy with your results and don’t want or need any follow-up treatments.
You May Be Given Some Guidelines
When the time comes to look into a maintenance treatment, your practitioner will take everything into consideration. They will judge how well it’s worked for you and how you feel about your results.
Based on their findings, they can either set up a regular treatment schedule for you, or you could decide that you’d rather seek out treatments if and when you feel they are necessary. If your practitioner feels strongly that your results will be best maintained on a consistent schedule, they may recommend that you stick to that schedule.
What Can PRP Therapy Be Used For?
It May Help Treat Some Injuries
Since this treatment uses your own platelets to heal, it can be used to treat a variety of injuries or concerns. It may be used on its own or combined with other treatments in an attempt to boost its effectiveness. One of the ways this treatment can be used is by expediting your healing process when it comes to issues such as joint injuries, tendonitis or torn tendons, and muscle injuries.
Injuries come in all kinds of different forms and severity. You could have been injured during work, or while enjoying a sport or active hobby. Regardless of how the injuries happen, they can severely affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function. This treatment can help give your body the boost it needs to begin an effective healing process.
Ligament and Tendon Injuries
Ligament and tendon injuries are very common, and they’re also prone to becoming repetitive injuries. Since tendons play the role of connecting bones and muscles, they can be found in almost every joint you have. Some of the most common tendon injuries include golfer or tennis elbow, rotator cuff strains and tears, patellar tendinopathy, and Achilles tendonitis.
When in use, tendons can absorb a lot of shocks. Repetitive motions can turn this shock into irritation. Ligaments are also connective, but their role is to connect bones to each other. The most common ligament injuries involve the knee or the elbow. Knees are commonly injured during sports like soccer and skiing, while elbow injuries are usually related to throwing motions.
Less Blood Flow Means Slower Healing
Due to the general lack of blood flow throughout ligaments and tendons, they usually heal slowly. Platelet-rich plasma injections may help speed up the process and strengthen your tissues for a better overall recovery by bringing much-needed reinforcements to the injured area.
How Does Age Factor In?
Age is a factor that can make injuries both more common and more severe. When you age, your body begins to lose the ability to heal itself as well or as quickly as it did before. This treatment can help strengthen and protect treated areas as it promotes healing.
It Could Help Reduce Pain From Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It can break down or cause damage to the articular cartilage on the end of your bones. This causes increased friction, which can lead to painful symptoms and a loss of mobility. While it is most common for those who are 60 years or older, it can happen to anyone. This is especially true if the joints are heavily used.
This is a restorative treatment, so in the case of osteoarthritis, the goal would be to help regenerate cartilage tissues. As such, this treatment could potentially help improve joint function and reduce painful symptoms.
It Is Growing More Popular as a Cosmetic Treatment
The plasma within PRP injections contains platelets that stimulate growth, as well as stem cells. Together, they can encourage the body to produce more elastin and collagen. At some point in our 20s, our bodies begin to produce less collagen and elastin each year. This leads to signs of aging such as volume reduction and loss of elasticity in the skin of the face.
When platelet-rich plasma is injected, the resulting collagen and elastin production can lead to a fuller face and improved skin texture. It may also help reduce fine lines. The areas it is most commonly used on for cosmetic purposes include:
- Around the face and cheeks
- Areas of the hands
- The upper and lower neck
- The skin around the eyes
Why Seek Out This Treatment for Cosmetic Purposes?
For patients who have begun to notice a loss of elasticity in their skin, this treatment may be a good option. It can be especially helpful for the delicate area under the eyes that can be difficult to safely treat otherwise. Patients who are struggling with sun damage may also turn to this treatment to help promote new, healthy skin cell production.
How Does It Work?
The First Step
There are three steps involved with each treatment. In the first step, you’ll have your blood drawn. Depending on how much platelet-rich plasma is desired, you may have only one tube of blood taken or you may have several tubes of blood drawn, usually from the arm.
After the blood draw, it will be put into a machine called a centrifuge. This machine spins at a fast rate, which will separate the different fluids found within your blood.
The Second Step
Your blood will have separated itself into three layers after about ten minutes of being spun around in this machine. The platelet-rich plasma is one of these layers, and since that’s what is used for PRP therapy, that is what will be drawn up.
The Final Step
The final step is the most simple one. Your newly separated plasma will be injected back into your body, into the area that needs it. Your body should respond by increasing the number of reparative cells it produces in this treated area. An ultrasound machine may be rolled out during your treatment, which can offer your doctor some additional guidance in administering the injection.
After that, you’ll be home free! The whole process usually takes a little over an hour.
1. Is It Safe?
Since nothing foreign is being introduced to your body, this is considered a very safe treatment. One of its many benefits lies in the fact that it uses your body to heal itself. During a consultation, you can bring up any questions or concerns you have about the process.
Your practitioner should be ready and willing to answer your questions and explain the various steps of the treatment. Knowledge is empowering and can help patients feel more comfortable and confident. This is why we believe offices should strive to create an environment in which questions are encouraged and thorough answers are given.
2. How Does It Compare to a Cortisone Injection?
The biggest difference is that cortisone injections are composed of a synthetic corticosteroid. Platelet-rich plasma injections, on the other hand, are completely natural. Both treatments are used to reduce inflammation and pain. Cortisone injections may be helpful in some cases, but they don’t promote healing. Too much of it may actually suppress the immune system, so it has to be used wisely.
On the other hand, PRP is used specifically to help treat the underlying cause of the pain, while also reducing pain at the same time. It also doesn’t have the same risk for side effects that cortisone injections may have.
3. Is This Treatment New?
Not at all! In the 1970s, the term PRP was coined to describe a plasma that has a higher platelet count than circulating blood. It was then discovered that PRP stimulated cell growth and had anti-inflammatory properties. Since then, it’s been primarily used for sport-related injuries. When it began to be used on high-profile sportspeople, the media started to pay attention. This brought PRP more into the limelight than ever before.
Over time, its use has continued to spread and evolve. PRP is now commonly used for cardiac and pediatric surgery. Its ability to repair tissue and wounds has led to the discovery of skin rejuvenation properties.
4. How Will I Know if It’s Working?
PRP treatment doesn’t cover up your symptoms. If you have noticed an improvement either visually or in your comfort level, depending on what you are being treated for, then you’ll know it’s working.
How soon you notice results can vary depending on each patient’s age, overall health, activity levels, and sometimes even diet. Many patients will notice an immediate improvement, which can continue to develop for weeks until you reach the point of full effect. For some, improvement may be more noticeable after repeat treatments.
5. Who Is a Good Candidate?
In general, anyone who is healthy enough to have their blood drawn may be a good candidate for this treatment. During a consultation, your practitioner will be able to determine if this treatment will be a good fit for you. PRP treatment has helped countless people across the world, and the multiple uses and benefits it can offer continue to be discovered as time goes on.
Better Your Life With Quality Treatment
We hope our article has been able to give you some answers about this wonderful treatment option. Our skilled team offers a plethora of services aimed at improving your health and wellness. If you are ready to reclaim and improve your health, contact us at IV Wellness in Winter Park, FL, for your consultation today!