PRP Therapy (Platelet-Rich Plasma)

Although PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Therapy has been around since the mid-1990s many people are still unaware of this beneficial treatment.

Various fields of medicine, including dentistry, neurosurgery, wound healing, and orthopedics, have only just begun to scrape the surface of the long-term and ongoing benefits that can result from employing this valuable therapy.

What is it? A Quick Lesson on Blood
In a nutshell, a PRP injection delivers a high concentration of endogenous (your own “home-grown”) platelets to an area of injury.

To understand the therapeutic value of PRP injections, you need to have a basic understanding of the make-up of blood. Blood is composed of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It’s these platelets that are the injury’s “first-responders” and help revascularize an injured area, construct new tissue, and stop the bleeding.

Because platelets play a significant role in the healing of tissue, reintroducing a high concentration of platelets directly into the injured area may enhance the healing process.

The physiological effects include:

• Increase tissue regeneration (tendon, ligament, soft tissue)
• Decrease inflammation
• Decrease pain
• Increase collagen (base component of connective tissue)
• Increase bone density
• Increase angiogenesis (development of new blood cells)

In the world of high-stakes sports, many stars swear by it. Tiger Woods received PRP injections in his left knee following surgery, and L.A. Dodger’s pitcher, Takashi Saito was able to return to the mound for the 2008 playoffs as a result of this little-known therapy.

Studies have seconded these testimonials. A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (2006) reviewed the effectiveness of PRP therapy in patients with chronic elbow pain. Fifteen patients were treated with PRP therapy. The results documented a 60% improvement at eight weeks, 81% at six months, and 93% at final follow-up (12-38 months). There were no side effects or complications reported.

The Trouble with Tendons
Tendon injuries often become chronic because of the poor blood supply to these areas. Athletes and active people tend to have these issues and sometimes a whole career or hobby can be ruined by this ongoing complication. A PRP injection allows a quick and focused action to the area of injury, which allows it to heal more effectively and rapidly.

The Procedure
A patient’s blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge which separates the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood. This plasma is then injected into the area of injury. It’s a quick procedure with little, if any, downtime. It’s also safe because the platelets are derived from the patient’s own blood, so there is no risk of rejection or reaction.

Not every patient is treated with PRP.
We do not treat every patient with PRP, most often, Dextrose Prolotherapy is used instead of PRP, because of the extra step in drawing your blood, the extra expense in purchasing the PRP kit, and extra time it takes to prepare the platelets. The injections are exactly the same way, but the proliferant, or solution injected is different. For many years we have had great success in healing 1000’s of patients’ and having them avoid surgery with dextrose Prolotherapy.

Your decision to have PRP should be discussed with us to determine which type of Prolotherapy, (Dextrose, platelets, or another proliferant) is best for you.

Not every doctor is proficient in PRP Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has become very popular. Physicians who do not do traditional Prolotherapy are now offering PRP. Unfortunately, these untrained doctors are injecting the platelets in a way that is often painful, debilitating for weeks, and can leave hematomas (collections of clotted blood) in the area injected. We believe that PRP is best delivered by a physician already experienced and well versed in Prolotherapy.

Platelet alpha granules contain potent growth factors necessary to begin tissue repair and regeneration at the wound site. Concentrated autologous platelets contain large reservoirs of growth factors that have the potential to greatly accelerate the normal healing process, naturally. The use of concentrated growth factors is considered by many to be a “new frontier” of clinical therapy

Excerpts in this article from Harvest Technologies Corp

1. Marx, R.E. , et al,“Platelet-Rich Plasma Growth Factor Enhancement for Bone Grafts”, Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Patrhol, 1998;85:638-646.

2. Antonaides, H.N., et al,“Human Platelet-Derived Growth Factor: Structure and Functions”, Federation Proceedings, 1983;42:2630-2634.

3. Pierce, G.F., et al,“PDGF-BB,TGF-ß1 and Basic FGF in Dermal Wound Healing: Neovessel and Matrix Formation and Cessation Repair”, Am J Pathology, 1992;140:1375-1388.

Written by Dr. Marc Darrow, M.D.

Marc Darrow, M.D., J.D., utilizes Stem Cell Therapy, Platatelt Rich Plasma Therapy, and Prolotherapy for the treatment of chronoc joint and back pain. Dr. Marc Darrow is a Board Certified Physiatrist specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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Prolotherapy, PRP, AGE MANAGEMENT MEDICINE, and other modalities mentioned are medical techniques that may not be considered mainstream. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication that you will heal or receive the same outcome as patients herein. There could be pain or substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.
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