Who’s a candidate for PRP therapy for stress urinary incontinence?
This is a suitable treatment option for women with mild to moderate cases of urinary incontinence. More severe cases usually call for surgical intervention.
In addition, it’s a viable treatment option for women with stress incontinence who haven’t been able to improve their condition with perineal rehabilitation or who don’t wish to undergo surgery.
How does platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy work?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is an innovative and promising treatment that represents a major advance in regenerative medicine.
While there’s still limited published research on PRP therapy, it’s currently used in various areas of medicine:
In the field of sports medicine, it’s used to treat a variety of injuries.
In the field of aesthetic medicine, it’s used to erase stretch marks. Specifically, platelet-rich plasma stimulates production of collagen by fibroblasts.
In the treatment of alopecia, platelet-rich plasma helps to anchor grafts and stimulate hair follicles when injected in the scalp.
PRP therapy is also used for skin rejuvenation treatment of the face, breasts and other areas of the body.
PRP therapy follows a standard procedure. It involves taking a blood sample from the patient and centrifuging the vial in a Health Canada-approved device that isolates the platelet-rich plasma from the blood. The blood is separated into two sections, with the red cells at the bottom of the vial and plasma at the top. The nurse then isolates the plasma layer, which is replete with platelets that released growth factors during centrifugation. When injected into the patient, the platelets, growth factors and other chemicals found in high concentration in the platelet-rich plasma help the body to heal, repair or reject various tissues. Platelet-rich plasma has a powerful ability to regenerate tissue. The colour of the plasma may vary from dark to light yellow depending on the lipid content.
How is PRP therapy used to treat stress incontinence?
One of the growth factors (among the 20-plus currently known to researchers) found in platelet-rich plasma is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
The injection of PRP into the periureteral region and the anterior vaginal wall appears to stimulate regeneration of blood vessels, nerves and tissues, all of which become healthier and more functional in zones connected with sexual stimulation and urinary incontinence. The injection of PRP encourages localized clotting, which has been shown to reinforce the urethra.
What does the procedure involve?
If a local anesthetic is administered, the procedure causes little to no discomfort.
A nurse will apply an anesthetic cream to the vaginal and vulvar areas. Next, blood will be drawn from the patient, then centrifuged for five minutes to isolate the platelet-rich plasma. The plasma will then be transferred into syringes and injected into the suburethral region.
What are the possible risks and complications following PRP therapy?
PRP therapy doesn’t present a risk for adverse drug interactions nor ill effects on cardiovascular health. There are no contraindications to this treatment. PRP therapy can even be used by individuals taking blood thinners; there will simply be an increased risk of bruising.
Temporary skin reactions at the injection site are possible. Signs of infection include redness, slight discomfort, edema, swelling and bruising.
How long does the treatment remain effective?
Most women begin to experience positive changes in the first few weeks, at a gradual rate. These benefits can last several months to several years, at which point the treatment needs to be repeated. On average, the treatment is effective for 12 to 18 months.
PRP injections can be re-administered to the patient as needed.
Are there are other treatments available for stress urinary incontinence?
Vaginal laser treatment for urinary incontinence
Injection of urethral bulking agents
Surgery for female urinary incontinence