The benefits of platelet-rich plasma in wound healing
Chronic non-healing wounds can negatively affect the quality of life. A wound is described as chronic if it fails to heal in a period of four to 12 weeks. Although the elderly are particularly vulnerable, non-healing wounds can affect anyone especially those with poor circulation or diabetes. According to the Wound Healing Society, chronic wounds are classified into four categories of ulcers; pressure, diabetic, venous and arterial insufficiency. In this series, We will discuss briefly the types of chronic wounds and what causes these wounds and what can be done to heal them by using the incredible healing power of platelet-rich plasma therapy.
Types of chronic wounds
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is characterized by blockage of arteries that supply blood to the legs and the feet. Although the neck, the arms, and the belly are also affected by PAD, a significant impact is felt on the legs and the feet. The initial symptoms of this condition include leg cramps, intermittent claudication and sometimes foot wounds can occur. A significant number of people diagnosed with diabetes also have PAD which can put the patient at risk of developing wounds that won’t heal. Venous insufficiency, on the other hand, is caused by the malfunction of valves in the veins of the lower leg causing the formation of blood pooling to the affected extremity. The pressure build-up from valve malfunctions can cause proteins and blood cells to percolate into the fat tissues resulting in insufficient oxygen and nutrients. This causes the breakdown of the subcutaneous tissues leading to the formation of wounds in the lower leg. This can later result in symptoms of itching, rashes and sometimes what is called venous stasis ulcerations.
Both PAD and venous insufficiency wounds share a common characteristic. Their wounds are caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the legs and the feet. Without the nutrients, oxygen and other structural components of the blood such as fibrin, the healing process cannot take place thus chronic wounds can lead to infection and even possible amputation. Luckily for all of us, technological advancement in both the medical and the research field has led to the development of platelet-rich plasma therapy. This therapy so far is the most effective in the healing of ulcers or wounds.
What is the platelet-rich plasma treatment (P.R.P)?
The plasma is the colorless part of the blood that is rich in platelets. Other blood components such as red and white blood cells play an important role in our health. We shall concentrate on platelets and their ability to facilitate healing in injured or compromised tissue. Platelet-rich plasma is plasma with a high concentrate of platelets. When you are injured, the body signals the releases platelets to the affected area which stops bleeding by the formation of a clot which will begin the healing and repair process. This is the basic mechanism behind platelet-rich plasma therapy. It functions to seal tissues by initiating wound repair through the release of a variety of growth factors. Some of the growth factors derived from platelets include the following:
- Transforming growth factor
- Nerve Growth Factors
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Epidermal growth factor
- Epithelial growth factor
- Insulin-like growth factors
Just like their names suggest, these growth factors trigger cell division in the injured area leading to the development of new tissues. These “new” tissues include blood vessels, nerves, structural cells such as epidermal and epithelial cells as well as connective tissues which act as needed wound healing infrastructure.
The benefits of platelet-rich plasma
There are tons of benefits to using PRP but here are a few that you should definitely know about:
It induces a natural healing process of wounds. As discussed above, chronic wounds lack a sufficient supply of nutrient and other healing factors found in the blood. With platelet-rich plasma therapy, the injured area is infused with a variety of nutrients and platelets that initiate the healing process with lasting and functional results.
It is cheaper compared to other methods. The administrations of platelet-rich plasma concentrate can range from two to six injections. That is cheaper compared to daily wound care dressings and pain medications prescribed for months. Most wounds heal permanently thereby reducing the risk of infection and amputation significantly.
Where can you get P.R.P therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy can be an excellent addition to an existing wound care regimen. Even when used alone, platelet-rich plasma incorporated into special wound care dressings can facilitate wounds to heal very rapidly. Not all platelet-rich plasma are created equal. I hold several patents in processing platelets specifically for wound care. I’m also the founder of The Releford Foot and Ankle Institute and a podiatric surgeon that has traveled the globe helping patients. I specialize in diabetic foot care and have over 25 years of experience with treating chronic wounds. My work was inspired by the need to reduce amputations caused by diabetes. Whether your wound is due to diabetes or sports, my P.R.P therapy produces rapid healing from the inside out. Finally, PRP treatment is available and affordable in our community at The Releford Foot & Ankle Institute located here in Inglewood California.