Ask the Doctor January-February 2022
Q: LEADERS IN LEAST INVASIVE PAIN & SPINE PROCEDURES How can Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment Help Shoulder and Knee Pain?
Platelet Rich Plasma erapy also referred to as PRP erapy, is a progressive non-surgical treatment to treat a variety of conditions including arthritis, ten- don injuries, and ligament injuries. PRP is part of a group of state-of-the-art treatments collectively referred to as Regenerative Medicine. PRP treats an injured area naturally using your body’s own growth factors to accelerate healing. It has been shown to be safe and e ec- tive for numerous joint and so tissue injuries. It has been extensively researched in numerous medical journals and publications all over the world. Some of the many uses of Platelet Rich Plasma include osteoarthritis (degenera- tive arthritis) of the spine, knee, shoulder, hip, hands, and feet, as well as menis- cus tears, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cu tears. e procedure is simple and is performed in the o ce. e PRP process begins when a small amount of the patient’s blood is removed from the arm and placed into a special container. e blood is then placed into a device called a centri- fuge which spins the blood to help the separate the portion of the blood which becomes concentrated with platelets, thereby giving the procedure its name. ese platelets are important because they release growth factors to recruit stem cells and to assist in healing an injured area naturally. Once the PRP is isolated, it is injected to the injured area under the guidance of an ultrasound machine to help accelerate healing and reduce pain.
is healing works on the simple principle that your body is perfectly capable of healing itself. Your blood contains all the essential components that the body produces to repair tissue damage. Each time you have an injury, the platelets in your blood along with growth factors, stem cells, cytokines, and other elements create a sca olding on the site. e damaged tissues use this framework to regenerate and repair. e entire process takes approximately one hour, and pa- tients are sent home the same day. Patients on average report more than 50% improvement in 6 weeks and up to 100% improvement in 12 weeks. is may eliminate the need for more aggressive and expensive treatment options such as long-term medication or surgery. In a recent study, researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery gave patients with early osteoarthritis an injection of PRP and then monitored them for one year. A er one year of the PRP injection, physicians evaluated the knee cartilage with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). While previous studies have shown that patients with osteoarthritis can lose roughly ve percent of knee cartilage per year, the Hospital for Special Surgery investigators found that a large majority of patients in their study had no further cartilage loss. At minimum PRP also prevented further knee deterioration.
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