Each month we are putting together what we like to call – the “PRP Roundtable”. We will ask a question to a handful of expert PRP doctors. They will answer and we will combine these answers into a monthly post. Below is the February 2012 PRP Roundtable topic and answers. We had 3 responses in our first month.
What role does PRP currently play in your practice, and do you think PRP will be a viable treatment option well into the future?
PRP therapy offers a promising solution to accelerate healing of tendon injuries and osteoarthritis naturally without subjecting the patient to significant risk. PRP is an emerging treatment in a new health sector known as ”Orthobiologics.” The philosophy is to merge cutting edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Blood is made of RBC (Red Blood Cells), WBC (White Blood Cells), Plasma, and Platelets. When in their resting state, platelets look like sea sponges and when activated form branches. Platelets were initially known to be responsible for blood clotting. In the last 20 years we have learned that when activated in the body, platelets release healing proteins called growth factors. There are many growth factors with varying responsibilities, however cumulatively they accelerate tissue and wound healing. Therefore after increasing the baseline concentration of these platelets, we are able to deliver a powerful cocktail of growth factors that can dramatically enhance tissue recovery.
To create PRP therapy, a small sample of your blood is drawn (similar to a lab test sample) and placed in a centrifuge that spins the blood at high speeds, separating the platelets from the other components. The concentrated platelet rich plasma (PRP) is then injected into and around the point of injury, jump-starting and significantly strengthening the body’s natural healing signal. Because your own blood is used, there is no risk of a transmissible infection and a very low risk of allergic reaction.
The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, including preparation and recovery time. Performed safely in a medical office, PRP therapy relieves pain without the risks of surgery, general anesthesia, or hospital stays and without a prolonged recovery. In fact, most people return to their jobs or usual activities right after the procedure. Up to three injections may be given within a six-month time frame, usually performed two to three weeks apart. You may, however, gain considerable to complete relief after the first or second injection.
Because the goal of PRP therapy is to resolve pain through healing, it could prove to have lasting results. Initial improvement may be seen within a few weeks, gradually increasing as the healing progresses. Research studies and clinical practice have shown PRP therapy to be very effective at relieving pain and returning patients to their normal lives. Both ultrasound and MRI images have shown definitive tissue repair after PRP therapy, confirming the healing process. The need for surgery can also be greatly reduced by treating injured tissues before the damage progresses and the condition is irreversible.
PRP is an excellent treatment for both acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries. But it does need to be used selectively and correctly in order to be effective. It is quicker, easier, lest costly and less invasive than surgical options. It is also very safe. The only restricting issue I have seen in my patient population is cost since it is usually not covered by insurance at this time. I believe that as patients and insurance companies learn more about the benefits and cost-effectiveness of PRP treatment it will only become more popular in the future.
Dr. Andrew Blecher @the_jockdoc
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a significant part of our daily practice. In my opinion, we are only beginning to appreciate the role of growth factors and stem cells for rejuvenation. In our practice, we employ PRP as a part ofmany procedures including wrinkle treatment, acne scar treatment, complexion enhancement, treatment of under eye circles, hand rejuvenation as well as hair restoration. In addition, PRP is often employed with procedures such as fat transfer and fractional CO2 laser treatments. Recently, we have been incorporating PRP with the Dermopen device (medical device with disposables based on the same principle as a dermaroller).
The positive feedback from our patients at Prasad Cosmetic Surgery & Medi-Spa who have received treatments that use PRP for treatment of the face, eyes, hands and hair continues to inspire us to explore new ways to use PRP to help them look their best.