PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
PRP is a recent treatment which has received a lot of media attention because of its use in high profile athletes such as Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward and golfer Tiger Woods.
When it comes to the treatment of both acute and chronic soft tissue injuries, platelet rich plasma injection (PRP) is a therapeutic, non-surgical procedure that acts to reduce pain, initiate healing and provide long-term relief. It is a safe, effective and natural way to promote and enhance healing by utilizing your body’s own resources.
A brief history of PRP…….
PRP studies have been conducted since the 1970’s and the procedure was initially used during heart surgery in Italy in 1987 to avoid excessive blood transfusions. In the years that followed and as studies became more and more encouraging, PRP has been used with increasing frequency in the fields of Sports Medicine and Plastic Surgery often with excellent results.
From early 2000 onward, orthopedic surgeons and reconstructive specialists have reported that PRP helps to enhance the body’s natural healing process in both bone and tissue while offering pain relief to patients with chronic injury-related pain issues. Enhanced healing is possible when platelet concentration is increased with PRP.
What are platelets and why do they matter?
Simply put, platelets are the cells in our bodies that clot our blood and promote healing. They contain over 300 active growth factors and hormones that help to facilitate growth and healing. When there is a break in the skin’s barrier or an injury to the body, platelets “signal” to distant repair cells – such as adult stem cells – to come to the injury site. Increasing the volume of platelets with PRP therapy increases the subsequent influx of repair and stem cells to “kick-start the healing process”. For those patients whose tissues are aging and therefore have a slower or reduced ability to repair and regenerate, the growth factors in PRP can help to improve the body’s healing ability.
How The Knee Center can help…….
Dr. Cooper has been doing PRP injections for several years not only for knee conditions but also for rotator cuff tears in the shoulder and chronic tendinitis/bursitis in the hip and elbow. Feedback from our patients has been quite positive in that many treated with PRP injections also report improvement in pain and mobility. Results were evident in diagnostic ultrasound done before and after which showed structural change and decrease in the size of tears. Some patients are also reporting improvement with chronic pain issues and enhanced mobility which is encouraging for other patients who might like to take advantage of this procedure.
How is the procedure performed?
PRP takes less than an hour from start to finish and there is minimal discomfort. The blood is drawn from a vein in the arm with a small 21 gauge needle called a “butterfly”. The vials of blood are spun in our centrifuge at a controlled high speed which separates out the nutrient rich plasma from the whole blood. Using ultrasound guidance, this nutrient rich plasma (PRP) is then reinjected into the tissue of the affected area to accelerate the healing process. Once introduced, the growth factor secretion begins within 10 minutes and continues for 7-10 days. Complications are rare as all procedures are done in one of our surgical treatment rooms using aseptic technique and patients can resume normal activity within a few days.
Is PRP covered by my Health Plan?
While it is under consideration, PRP is currently not covered by health insurance although, in cases under workers compensation or auto-related trauma, it may be. Our costs for PRP are discussed individually with each patient and depend upon the area(s) to be addressed.
Although no results can be guaranteed and additional treatments may be necessary, patients who have opted for this elective procedure have given us favorable feedback. Many patients have improved significantly and this innovative treatment is certainly worth considering. PRP is a simple and effective way to avoid costly surgery while giving patients back two of the most important things - their mobility and well-being.
If you are considering PRP and would like to schedule an appointment or just have some questions, please call The Knee Center at 570-825-5633. MaryAnn or Tonia will be very happy to help you!