How a Wound Heals and Why PRP Helps
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is routinely utilized by doctors following surgery in order to promote wound healing. Likewise, we train doctors to use outpatient PRP therapy for the same purpose. The PRP therapies we cover can also be used for orthopedic and anesthetic applications.
If you are a doctor considering attending an AMRI training course, you are already familiar with the process of wound healing. But since we do have visitors without medical degrees who read our blog posts from time to time, we thought it might help to explain how a wound heals and why PRP helps stimulate the healing process.
How a Wound Heals
Regardless of the severity of a given wound, all wounds heal in stages. Larger wounds obviously take longer to heal. The healing process begins, in most cases, with bleeding. Note that even wounds that do not bleed still follow the same basic process.
As a wound bleeds, platelets in the blood begin to form clots to stop the bleeding. Those clots eventually dry to create a scab that covers the wound. Completely closing the wound with a scab allows the body to begin healing.
The wound becomes tender and slightly swollen as the immune system kicks in. A clear fluid may be seen oozing from the wound depending on its severity; this fluid keeps the area around the wound clean. At the same time, the immune system begins sending blood to the wound in order to supply it with oxygen and nutrients. White blood cells go on the defensive to keep infection away.
For the next several weeks, the combination of red blood cells, nutrients, growth factors, and oxygen grow new tissue to replace what was damaged. Collagen is also produced; collagen is essentially the fiber that binds together to form new tissue.
Finally, the last stage of wound healing is the generation of new skin at the site of the wound. Minor wounds can heal completely in about a week or so while larger, deeper wounds may require several weeks or longer.
Promoting Healing with PRP
With a basic understanding of how wound healing occurs, you can begin to understand why PRP helps. Platelet-rich plasma is blood plasma with an unusually high concentration of platelets and growth factors. A high-quality PRP system, like the ones we use here at Apex Biologix, can concentrate platelets up to 10 times higher than what is normally found in blood.
Along with those platelets, the plasma contains a number of different growth factors including epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, and connective tissue growth factor. These are just three of the growth factors the body uses for natural wound healing.
Having said all that, the real secret to using PRP for wound healing is injecting the material directly into the site of the wound. Think of it like turbo-charging an engine. An engine that is turbocharged utilizes extra oxygen at just the right moment to create an oxygen-rich fuel mixture that produces considerably more power. PRP therapy for wound healing is very similar.
Injecting platelet-rich plasma directly into the site of the wound instantly introduces a high volume of platelets, growth factors, and other nutrients. The body can immediately use those materials to begin the healing process. Healing occurs more quickly, thus reducing the total time needed, the risk of infection, and the risk of scarring.
Doctors have been using post-surgical PRP procedures for quite a while now. They use them because the procedures work. Here at Apex Biologix, we teach doctors to use the same procedures for other purposes.