Platelet rich plasma therapy has become one of the latest trends to hit cosmetic and medical practices. It’s not difficult to see why: PRP therapy has the potential to treat plenty of issues ranging from wound healing to skin rejuvenation treatments. But the success of a PRP treatment largely relies on PRP preparation: with tools and accessories like the PRP tube taking center stage for getting the right platelet concentration required for a PRP injection.
So what tubes do you need for PRP? Generally, a vacuum-sealed tube that can hold the blood sample for platelet recovery is the default configuration used in most centrifugation setups, though any blood storage tube that can hold a separating gel, a buffy coat layer, or sodium citrate solution will work just as well. Depending on the kind of PRP system or PRP kit used, it’s possible to use only one or several types of PRP tubes to get the job done.
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Generally, the goal of PRP preparation is to successfully isolate platelet concentrate from white blood cells, red blood cells, and other compounds found in the blood sample. The process is relatively simple as well: simply get the blood sample, use a centrifugation force to isolate the platelets needed, and then inject the serum back into the patient.
But depending on the differences between the kind of platelet rich plasma treatment, the centrifuge used in the preparation, and the overall goal of the PRP treatment, the exact type of tools and accessories used may vary. Still, there are usually two types of tubing that are used for this process:
Most conventional PRP preparation involves the drawing of blood from the patient, placing it into a centrifuge, then drawing the platelet concentrate into a syringe for the PRP treatment. For procedures like these, a vacuum-sealed blood centrifuge tube – with or without the use of PRP gel or anticoagulant like sodium citrate – are absolute necessities. A vacuum-sealed tube minimizes the risk of contamination to either the blood sample or the PRP serum once centrifugation is complete, and guarantees easy platelet recovery after the procedure.
One thing to take note of when using these centrifugation tubes is that practices should check if anticoagulant is needed if there is some delay between the blood gathering and the centrifugation process. On average, blood can only be turned into PRP for a short while after it’s been extracted from the patient, and any delay in this procedure may cause the natural clotting factors to occur. Attempting to create a serum from this can result in platelet poor plasma, severely impacting the quality of the resulting PRP treatment.
For some procedures that may require manual addition of a compound before the centrifugation process like sodium citrate, additional medical blood collection tubes may be necessary. Keep in mind that preventing outside contamination is paramount if the blood will be transferred between tubes quite often before being turned into a PRP serum: while having the right transfer needle can help mitigate this risk, it’s not a guarantee that the tube itself will be sterile.
Blood collection tubes can also help if the practice is conducting other methods of platelet therapy like plasma rich fibrin matrix treatments. Since the addition of a fibrin matrix may require additional work with the blood sample, extra blood collection tubes are always useful to have on hand.
These tubes will often differ depending on the preference of the PRP provider and the equipment available to them, though keeping tools and accessories involved in PRP preparation should always meet the minimum standards of a sterile and clean environment.
Owing to the number of different PRP kits and centrifuges available, practices may often be confused on what kind of PRP tubes should they use with their centrifuge. Fortunately, most manufacturers of PRP centrifuges give detailed instructions and recommendations on what tubes work best with their machines, or in some cases already bundle in the PRP tubes with the initial purchase.
However, a practice that may have sourced the centrifuge and the PRP kit separately might face some issues. In this case, here are some tips they can follow to prevent any complications arising from the PRP procedure:
PRP centrifuges don’t spin in the same way: some systems use a single or double spin depending on their ultimate goal with the platelet count. This is why checking if a centrifuge tube is rated for the speeds that it’ll be subjected to is so crucial to prevent any damage to the blood sample. This isn’t always an issue of tube size as it is material – though keep in mind that high rotations of a centrifuge always have risks on a tube.
Learn more: How Do You Use Centrifuge for PRP Preparation?
While strictly not necessary for a PRP procedure, anticoagulants and gel separators play a significant role in harvesting viable platelets. Not all tubes are rated for these kinds of interactions, and this factor plays heavily in how the centrifuge works. Practices need to either be well-experienced in isolating the platelet concentration from a tube that doesn’t use a gel separator or use a treatment option that doesn’t require anticoagulants.
Finally, the most significant factor that may affect tube and centrifuge compatibility is how familiar the PRP provider is with the PRP preparation required for their treatment. Because any centrifugation process with a resilient enough centrifugation tube can make a PRP sample, it takes a practiced and discerning eye to understand the exact requirements for getting a pure PRP serum that can effectively treat the patient. This may seem a little nebulous as it largely relies on the expertise of the PRP provider, but it’s often the most significant factor that can help resolve equipment and accessory incompatibility with PRP treatments.
Ideally, getting one provider for the centrifuge and the PRP tubes should be standard practice to prevent situations like these from occurring. However, if these are not available, then it falls on the experience and the resources at hand the practice has access to determine whether they have enough to proceed with PRP treatment.
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If any laboratory-grade centrifuge can extract platelet rich plasma, why is the grade or quality of the PRP tube even significant? There are three primary reasons why it matters:
The biggest issue that can complicate a PRP treatment is the possibility of contamination to either the blood sample or the resulting PRP serum. Because of the nature of the treatment, any contamination in the process can end up making the patient ill or diluting the effects of the PRP treatment. Choosing the right PRP tube (along with maintaining a clean and sterile work environment) drastically reduces the risks of this happening.
A laboratory-grade centrifuge tube may be able to isolate some platelets from a blood sample, but they’re unlikely to be rated for the type of speeds required to get a sample of autologous plasma for treatment. Trying to push for PRP-worthy plasma is still possible, but practices risk damaging their centrifuge, the tube, or the blood sample itself in the attempt. PRP-certified centrifugation tubes and containers are more efficient.
Finally, PRP tubes can have features that make the separation of the pure PRP serum from the rest of the sample, like a buffy coat layer or a gel separator. This drastically speeds up the PRP procedure and removes the possibility of introducing a plasma poor sample to the patient, which can affect the results of the PRP treatment.
As a PRP provider becomes more experienced in PRP preparation and the procedures required to get a platelet rich plasma sample, using proper tools and equipment will be both indispensable and second nature to their process.
The PRP system can sometimes be demanding to practices that don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to operate a centrifugation machine or go through the process of isolating autologous platelets for treatment. For cases like these, products like PEP factor can be a welcome alternative to both practices and their patients.
PEP Factor products are made from a proprietary blend of fibroblast growth factor, copper peptides, and other necessary nutrients that can aid in skin and hair rejuvenation. While the restorative properties of PEP growth factor products aren’t in the league of PRP treatments with more serious conditions, they can possibly improve aesthetic conditions like hair loss reasonably well.
One of the biggest advantages of using PEP Factor products is that they don’t require any of the usual procedures required from PRP preparation. There’s no need for blood cell centrifugation, leukocyte filtering, or any special equipment like PRP tubes. Since it relies on the already-included fibroblast growth factor to improve the appearance of thinning hair, it also doesn’t require any injection or extraction of red blood cells.
However, that’s not to say that PEP Factor products can’t be used with autologous PRP therapy. While autologous plasma can aid in medical conditions like wound healing, PEP factor products can work in aesthetic restoration, considering that it shares similar qualities with stem cell therapy. If the practice is sufficiently well-equipped to use autologous platelet rich plasma with PEP factor treatments, it’s possible to give their patients a more comprehensive improvement in both appearance and bodily function.
However, the crucial factor to consider here is that both PEP Factor products and PRP preparation kits should always come from a certified supplier. This not only guarantees the quality of the goods received, but it can also help patients have more confidence in the procedure/treatment and in their overall results.
Getting the right kind of PRP tube is necessary to isolate the right platelet concentrate for a PRP procedure. While it is possible to make a PRP serum without using multiple serum or blood collection tubes, some variations of PRP treatment like platelet rich fibrin (PRFM) treatment may require them. The crucial thing that every applicator must remember is to make sure that any PRP tube that they use must be compatible with their PRP centrifuge, or they risk having a lower platelet count in the final serum than is required.
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