The basis of autologous blood therapy is that one of the components of our blood, the thrombocyte (platelet) is able to induce biological regeneration in our tissues by stimulating the remodelling process.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection is the clinically and technically clarified application of the former autologous blood therapy. In essence, certain components of our body’s natural fluid tissue, the thrombocytes, are injected in high concentration to a site where they can induce biological regeneration, and for that process there is no need for us to use any chemically produced substance.
PRP therapy is based on the findings that growth factors released from thrombocytes particularly promote regeneration in different tissues and cells. Several scientific studies have proven the beneficial effect of thrombocytes in tissue regeneration. The main PRP growth factors in thrombocytes have been identified as the most important elements in cartilage regeneration, because of their role in chondrocyte (cartilage cell) reproduction.
After acknowledging the effect of thrombocytes, an opportunity has arisen to efficiently treat conditions such as chronic inflammatory diseases located at the point where the tendon is connected to the periosteum, like tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon, as well as pain in the heel and sole of the foot caused by periosteal irritation, strained tendons due to doing sports and different inflammatory diseases of bursae located predominantly around the shoulder.
PRP therapy is an effective, new, conservative treatment option for managing injuries of the cartilage covering the joints, for early symptoms of cartilage defects and in case of arthrosis as well. Scientific studies have proven that the concentration of thrombocytes, when injected into the joint, can induce biological regeneration leading to secondary cartilage (so-called fibrocartilage) formation. This significantly improves the load-bearing capacity of the joint, which is confirmed by several international clinical studies. Apparently, if the extent of cartilage damage is so high that the whole load-bearing surface is destructed (confirmed by X-ray, CT, MRI), the only solution is knee replacement surgery.
PRP therapy received special attention regarding the management of sports injuries among professional athletes. In addition, PRP therapy does not violate anti-doping rules, as stated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The fact that there are differences in the effectiveness of PRP therapy can be explained with two things. On the one hand, there may be individual differences in the number of thrombocytes in the collected blood, which clearly affects the density of the thrombocyte concentrate later on. On the other hand, the effectiveness of the thrombocyte concentrate largely depends on the application of verified and standardized technical instruments and methods. According to the official statement and recommendation of the Hungarian College of Healthcare, Division of Orthopaedics (Egészségügyi Szakmai Kollégium Ortopéd Tagozata), it is essential that the therapy is performed with such medical instruments which have a LOT-number and which can be traced back, and that blood collection is performed at an institute which has an appropriate license for drawing blood, issued by the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service, Hungary (ÁNTSZ). Outstanding effectiveness can only be expected if standardized techniques are applied and appropriate follow-up treatment is initiated. Buda Health Center fully complies with these requirements.
As with every treatment, after thrombocyte concentrate injection as well, avoiding load-bearing at the beginning is absolutely necessary. It is recommended to avoid severe physical strain of the joint or part of the body for two weeks. After these two weeks, the patient can start physiotherapy, gradually increasing the training load, conducted by a professional, if possible.
PRP injection is not painless, since it is given in an area or joint that is already in pain and may even be inflamed. This may cause sensations of tightness, which, however, may quickly be gone in 2-3 days with using ice pack or taking a mild pain relief. The process of bioavailability starts thereafter. At this point, only gradual loading is advised, and it can only be applied until pain threshold. Differing from patient to patient, it may take 3-6 weeks for full recovery. The permanent improvement of symptoms differ from patient to patient as well, and it can be expected after 4-8 weeks.
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