PRP is an acronym for Platelet Rich Plasma. Platelets are best known for their role in initiating blood clotting. However, platelets are also known to be rich sources of healing proteins called growth factors. There are many growth factors with varying actions. However, cumulatively these growth factors accelerate tissue and wound healing, and are thought to promote healing via a regenerative process (normal tissue) rather than a reparative process (scar tissue).
Blood is composed of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Plasma is the non-cellular component of blood. PRP is formed by processing a single blood sample from a patient through a series of centrifugation procedures to separate and concentrate the platelets from the other blood cells. The resulting product, the PRP, contains a cocktail of growth factors which can then be delivered to injured tissues to enhance healing. Since PRP is an autologous product (meaning it comes from the patient's own blood), it will not be rejected by the patient's immune system.
The primary indication for PRP therapy is intralesional injection of injured tendons or ligaments, but it can also be used as a topical application for chronic, non-healing wounds. Veterinarians at the New Jersey Equine Clinic provide PRP treatments on an outpatient basis. Controlled exercise and serial ultrasonographic evaluation remain important aspects of the rehabiliation program for tendon and ligament injuries.