The Basic Science of Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP): What Clinicians Need to Know


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Abstract

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been advocated for the biological augmentation of tissue healing and regeneration through the local introduction of increased levels (above baseline) of platelets and their associated bioactive molecules. In theory, the increased levels of autologous growth factors and secretory proteins provided by the concentrated platelets may enhance the wound healing process, especially in degenerative tissues or biologically compromised individuals. Although PRP has been increasingly utilized in the treatment of a variety of sports-related injuries, improvements in healing and clinical outcomes have not been universally reported. One reason for this may be the fact that all PRP preparations are not the same. Variations in the volume of whole blood taken, the platelet recovery efficacy, the final volume of plasma in which the platelets are suspended, and the presence or absence of white blood cells, and the addition of exogenous thrombin to activate the platelets or calcium chloride to induce fibrin formation, can all affect the character and potential efficacy of the final PRP product. This article will review the basic principles involved in creating PRP and examine the potential basic scientific significance of the individual blood components contained in the various forms of PRP currently used in sports medicine.

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