Understanding the Healing Power of Platelets

When you’re injured, platelets travel through your bloodstream to the damaged tissues and perform one of their most well-known roles: They stop the bleeding. But that’s not the only essential job they fill.

Platelets are one of your body’s vital regenerative cells. In that role, they activate your body’s natural healing process and support cellular restoration.

While these potent cells automatically jump into action when you suffer an injury or develop a disease, sometimes you need a healing boost. That’s when our medical team at iMed Regeneration Center separates platelets from a sample of your own blood and injects them in the form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

Read on to learn more about the healing power of platelets and when you might benefit from a PRP injection.

How platelets heal

When platelets reach the site of an injury, whether it affects blood vessels, muscles, organs, or any other tissue, they release specialized proteins called growth factors. Growth factors initiate healing.

Platelets send out numerous types of growth factors, and each one triggers a specific response in the nearby cells. As a group, though, growth factors promote healing through activities such as:

Recruiting stem cells

Growth factors actively recruit stem cells to the injured tissues. Then stem cells self-replicate and regenerate new cells that develop into every type of cell needed to repair and rebuild the damaged tissues.

Accelerating healing

Growth factors stimulate stem cells to work as quickly as possible. As a result, they speed up healing at the cellular level.

Rebuilding blood vessels

Several growth factors specifically trigger the production of new blood vessels, in part by triggering cell replication in the existing blood vessels.

Forming a supportive matrix

As new cells regenerate and mature, they need a matrix that supports their ability to develop. Growth factors build that matrix.

Supporting new cell growth

Growth factors regulate the phases of cellular growth, supporting the healthy rebuilding of new skin, muscles, nerves, collagen, and other tissues.

Regulating inflammation

Inflammation is a complex process that’s essential in the early stage of healing. But if inflammation lasts too long, it turns into a damaging force that inhibits healing and affects your health. Growth factors regulate inflammation with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial proteins.

When you might need PRP

PRP contains a high concentration of platelets, which dramatically enhance your body’s healing power when they’re injected directly at the site of the injury. Many conditions benefit from PRP, so these are only a few of the most common reasons we recommend an injection of platelets.

You may benefit from a PRP injection if your body’s natural healing response is too slow, you have a nonhealing wound, or your pain persists despite other treatments. Chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis often respond well to PRP.

You may need an extra dose of platelets when you sustain a severe injury that overwhelms your body’s normal platelet supply. Additionally, some tissues, such as tendons and cartilage, don’t have a good blood supply. As a result, platelets can’t reach the damaged tissues. 

When you injure any of these blood-deprived areas in your body, an influx of platelets from a PRP injection can significantly improve the healing response.

To learn if regenerative medicine can help relieve your pain and accelerate healing, call us at iMed Regeneration Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, or book an appointment online.

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