PRP preparation procedures are designed to extract the pure form of Platelet Rich Plasma, a wonder serum that can help you with a range of medical and aesthetic issues. Regain your amazing good looks and an improved quality of life with PRP therapy that is natural, safe, and unlikely to cause any harmful side effects.
Among the first queries that you might have before signing up for Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is about the PRP preparation process. You would want to know how the serum is created. You might also have questions about the additives used and if they are harmful. Or, how long the entire process takes. Read ahead and have your questions answered about the PRP process modalities.
PRP Preparation Procedure
To begin with, it is important to understand that there are no standardized processes for creating the PRP injection. Each physician has a different modality for preparing the serum. The basic procedures for harvesting the blood plasma sample and spinning it may be similar. However, many other aspects go into the PRP process. Here’s how your doctor might proceed.
Harvesting the Blood and Preparing for Spinning
Your medical practitioner will extract about 30cc of blood from the vein. This process is similar to when you give a sample for a blood test. This sample is placed in a vacutainer or specialized test tubes that prevent clotting of the blood. If the technician is using regular test tubes, she may choose to add anti-clotting agents to the sample like for example, citrate dextrose A. Compounds like these prevent the platelets from activating before the centrifugation or spinning process. About 30cc of blood is enough to prepare about 3cc to 5cc of PRP serum.
Platelet Rich Plasma Centrifuge
Doctors may choose between two PRP preparation systems for the spinning, namely, the PRP method or the buffy coat method.
A. Doctors take the blood sample from your arm and place it in test tubes that contain acid citrate dextrose A (ACD). They do not cool the blood at any time all through the process.
B. After placing the test tubes in a centrifugal device, they use the “soft spin” system at steady speeds to separate the different components of the blood.
C. The spinning motion causes the blood to split into three layers. The bottom layer is made of red blood cells. And, the middle layer is the thin buffy coat that has white blood cells. The top layer is a combination of white blood cells and platelets.
D. Next, the medical practitioner separates the red blood cells and upper layers using suction methods that are much like pulling up the liquid in a straw.
E. These layers are transferred into a sterile test tube that does not contain any anti-clotting agents. A few red blood cells are also added to the mix.
F. The test tube is now placed in the centrifugation device for the second round of spinning or “hard spin.”
G. The pure Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) settles at the bottom in a 5ml layer. This layer makes up about a third of the total components of the test tube while the upper two-thirds are the Platelet Poor Plasma (PPP).
H. Doctors gently remove the upper layer and prepare the lower PRP layer for injecting.
Doctors harvest a 10ml sample of whole blood from the vein.
Before beginning the centrifugation process, they make sure that the sample is at temperatures of 20°C to 24°C.
After placing the sample in test tubes, doctors spin them at high speeds. No anti-clotting agents are used. In response to the motion, the blood separates into three layers. The bottom layer is made up of red blood cells. The middle layer or buffy coat has white blood cells and platelets. And, the top layer is the Platelet Poor Plasma (PPP).
The doctor separates the buffy coat and transfers it into a sterile test tube.
To remove white blood cells and collect pure PRP, the medical practitioner spins the buffy coat at low speeds. In place of spinning, she might choose to use a white blood cell filter.
The doctor prepares the PRP serum for injecting. She may add thrombin or calcium to activate the serum. Or, choose to insert the serum without any additives.
Factors that Affect the Quality of the End Serum
Various aspects of the PRP preparation process affect the quality of the end blood plasma. Doctors may also make minor changes in the formulation according to the particular medical or aesthetic issue they are looking to treat. Keep in mind that medical practitioners train in giving you PRP therapy according to the particular field in which they specialize.
Accordingly, dermatologists use unique methods needed to prepare the serum for skin rejuvenation. They may also choose to combine PRP therapy with micro-needling processes to treat hair and skin issues, plastic and reconstructive surgery. On the other hand, an orthopedic surgeon preparing the PRP injection for inserting into the kneecap may use a somewhat different approach.
Individual platelet concentration
The platelet count , that is platelet concentration that your blood contains will affect the concentration of the platelets in your blood after processing. Interestingly, it is not necessary that if you have a higher platelet concentration in your blood, you’ll also have a higher concentration of platelets in the serum. In addition, the number of white blood cells in your blood and their level in the PRP serum may also vary from patient to patient.
PRP Centrifuge Protocol
Having harvested a blood sample from your arm, doctors carefully choose the variables for spinning that can affect how the blood separates.
Specific speeds for spinning: Doctors decide on the perfect revolutions per minute to spin the test tubes. These speeds should be just right to make some of the blood components settle at the bottom. At the same time, the spinning must allow other components to remain suspended in the above layers.
Radius: Doctors place the test tubes in the centrifugation machine after carefully calculating the radius. In other words, the distance from the center of the machine to the exact spot where the test tubes will stand.
Additives and Anti-clotting Agents
Doctors may choose to add compounds to the serum at different stages of the PRP preparation process. These additives may work to prevent the serum from clotting, or they may serve to activate the healing properties of the serum.
For preventing clotting:
A combination of citrate (citric acid), sodium citrate (a kind of salt used in making sodas and as a food preservative), and dextrose (a type of sugar).
Trisodium citrate: This is a kind of sodium citrate that gives sodas that tart, slightly salty flavor
Thrombin: Naturally found in your body, it helps the PRP create the framework for tissues to regenerate.
Calcium Chloride: A kind of salt, it is used to preserve certain foods.
Epinephrine: A natural hormone also called adrenaline, it works to reduce any possible discomfort you might feel from the injection. It is also used as a well-known anti-allergy injection.
As you can see, none of the additives used in the PRP preparation process are harmful or likely to cause any adverse effects.
PRP Preparation – A Natural, Lunchtime Process
Formulating the PRP serum is a very simple process that uses only natural components like your blood. Any additives that the doctors might use are safe, so there is no possibility of side effects or your body rejecting the treatment. Should you choose to sign up for the treatment, you’ll find that the actual PRP preparation time only takes around 30 minutes at the most.
The remaining time that you might have to spend at the clinic will include preparing you for the PRP injection or taking care of post-procedure activities. These can include applying topical anesthetics before starting the injection procedure. Post-procedure, your doctor applies ice to cool your skin and instructs you on the medications to avoid for a few weeks after getting the treatment. Your doctor might also spend time talking to you about the PRP results to expect and the need for follow-up sessions.
In Short, Here’s What the PRP Preparation Processes are All About
PRP preparation processes involve a lot more than just spinning the blood sample in a centrifugal device. As the National Center for Biotechnology Information explains, PRP practitioners may choose the single-spin or Buffy coat method that can give them PRP in gel form. Alternatively, they may use the PRP or dual spin method to create a serum in liquid form. The PRP processing methods adopted depend on the end use of the serum.
Your doctors can use varying speeds of centrifugation, number of rotations, and placement of the sample at specific distances from the center of the device. In this way, they can achieve the desired concentration of platelets essential to help your medical or aesthetic issue. The additives they use to activate the components of PRP or prevent the blood from clotting can also affect the efficacy of the plasma. However, you can rest assured that these additives are simple, natural compounds commonly used in cooking or produced in the body.