In the course of recent years, numerous advances and new techniques have been made in the field known as regenerative medicine. One of these techniques is therapy using platelet growth factors, which is proving effective in various treatments, such as the treatment of osteoarthritis and various problems of the locomotor system: joints, muscles, tendons…
In the case of osteoarthritis treatment, platelet growth factor therapy is especially effective for patients with mild or moderate grade 2 or 3 joint degradation (other therapies are applied in cases with a high degree of degeneration). Platelet growth factors can also be a good alternative to minimize the degradation caused by osteoarthritis in those patients who cannot undergo surgical treatment for some reason.
Recently, these therapies have also started to be used in other medical fields, such as dentistry (improving the application of implants) or ophthalmology (to combat dry eye syndrome or cure corneal ulcers).
What is platelet growth factor therapy?
Platelet growth factor treatment, also known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), uses signaling proteins, cytokines, and other substances obtained from the patient’s own blood. The application of these factors causes various biological processes to be triggered that help and favor the repair of damaged tissues, such as cell proliferation and differentiation, the formation of blood vessels and the migration of cells to where regeneration is necessary, among others.
To carry out the treatment, first of all, a small amount of blood is extracted from the patient (between 20 and 60 cc, the amount will vary according to the lesion to be treated), which is centrifuged to separate the different types of cells and substances that make up the blood, remaining after said centrifugation separated into layers inside the tube with the sample:
- At the bottom of the tube, the red blood cells remain.
- In the layer just above the previous one are the leukocytes or white blood cells.
- Finally, in the upper layer, is the plasma with all the substances that make possible and favor the repair of damaged tissues.
From this last layer of plasma, two parts can be distinguished in turn, the part rich in platelets and the part poor in platelets. Both have regenerative properties, both separately and in combination.
Once the platelet-rich plasma has been separated from the blood (which is a process that takes between 25 and 40 minutes approximately), it is applied through infiltrations into the lesion or pathological area to be treated. These sessions of therapy with platelet growth factors are ambulatory, since they are carried out in less than an hour, do not require anesthesia and the patient can continue immediately after the session with their normal life, it does not require recovery time.
Among the advantages of this therapy is the fact that, as platelet growth factors are obtained from the patient’s own blood, there is no risk of rejection. Thanks to the effects of the therapy, in addition to enhancing the processes of the tissue itself, accelerating its regeneration by promoting the reproduction of cells, it also helps reduce inflammation, has antimicrobial properties and reduces pain.
However, this therapy is contraindicated in those cases in which the patient suffers from an active infection, a neoplastic process (in case of having previously suffered, the oncologist should be consulted), gout or diabetes. As you might expect, this type of therapy should always be done under medical supervision.
Treatment duration and results
Treatment using platelet growth factors is administered on an outpatient basis through infiltrations in the area or lesion to be treated, which is done in several sessions periodically
The number of sessions of this therapy, and therefore the duration of the treatment, varies depending on the case to be treated. For example, to treat cartilage defects, 3 to 5 injections are usually administered annually, with 15 days between each one. On the other hand, to treat tendon, muscle, ligament or skin injuries, 1 to 3 injections are administered, also every 15 days.
In principle, the treatment can be applied to any joint, varying the amount infiltrated according to the size of the area to be treated.
Regarding results, although this type of therapy may vary from one person to another, until now it has been statistically observed that in 73% of cases there has been a significant improvement 6 months after treatment, decreasing pain and improving the functionality of the patient’s joint. Finally, as has been proven in practice so far, the effects of the treatment last from 12 to 24 months, depending on each case.
Platelet growth factor therapy at Vithas Xanit Internacional
If you need the attention of a specialist to treat a joint problem, either through platelet growth factor therapy or other treatments, at Vithas Xanit Internacional we put the best professionals at your disposal, who together with the latest technology, as well as the most recent therapies, treatments and surgical techniques, allow us to offer you the best care and the best possible results in our treatments and surgeries. Contact us for more information or make an appointment.