Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
Numerous published studies report the biological boost PRP gives to healing. First used in the 1990’s as part of dental procedures to restore receded or otherwise degraded gums, PRP treatment has received significant recent attention after several NFL players and elite athletes from other sports, including Tiger Woods, used PRP to more quickly return to their game.
What is PRP?
Your Natural Healing Process
After you are injured, what should happen is:
Inflammation – blood vessels clot, healing fluids flood the injured area bringing white blood cells, growth factors, nutrients, and other tools that remove the damaged cells and even cause you pain and discomfort so you’ll give the area a rest and let it heal.
Proliferation – a phase of rapid growth to “rebuild” the injured area by laying down new collagen andconnective tissue; repair and grow new blood vessels wto support the high levels of oxygen and nutrients needed to make new healthy cells. At this step, the rebuilding has just begun.
Remodeling & Maturation – the longest phases; the body now rebuilds by restructuring the collagen and other fibers to improve their stability and strength. The extra blood vessels recede leaving a more mature, properly rebuilt, tissue.
Why and how we heal is fairly complex and not well understood. And when it comes to joints, especially tendons, many consider surgery a gold standard but often it doesn’t work.
The biological boost of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelets are tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding.
Whether you’ve just been “tackled” by your children, been in a collision, or dealing with the microtrauma of repetitive use, platelets are one of the first of your cells to arrive on the scene of injury and begin repairing the damage causing your pain.
These tiny cells—actually cell fragments—release a number of growth factors involved in key stages of wound healing and regenerative processes.
Platelet growth factors can stimulate other cells to lay down new connective tissue and also help direct vascularization, or blood vessel growth, in the new tissue.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) concentrates the healing advantage of platelets right where you need it—to speed up healing the injured area.
Basically, a small amount of your own blood is collected and centrifuged to separate it into 3 layers: platelet poor plasma (PPP), PRP, and red cells.
The whole process takes minutes giving us a concentrated source of healing platelets 3–5x that of what is in your blood.
Because we use your own blood, there is no risk of cross reactivity, immune reaction or disease transmission.
PRP improves soft tissue healing, including helping post-surgical rehabilitation, can enhance bone regeneration, and often heals joint injuries that have not been helped by traditional rehabilitative approaches.
A relatively new technique, it is not yet recognized by most insurance companies (read: “pay for it”) and it may require a few repetitive treatments. As your Hands On Health Care team strives to provide affordable and effective care, we’ve priced PRP below most other places in the greater Albuquerque area.
We believe that if you are a candidate for PRP as a component of your healing plan, nothing will help you heal more completely and return to the activities you love faster.
As a doctor, I didn’t think that my first experience with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy would be as personal as it turned out. But last year, after I suffered an acute shoulder rotator cuff tear. I didn’t have many options. I tried ‘let it heal’ (using my basic tools and anti-inflammatory diet of course) but when my MRI showed the degree of damage (a full thickness tear of the large tendon that allows me to raise my arm-in case you want to know) I thought my only option was with an Orthopedic surgeon.
I wasn’t able to raise my arm, and the way I use it day in and day out to heal others made it worse; many activities for both work and play became virtually impossible. Finally I (albeit grudgingly) went to my friend the orthopedic surgeon who of course suggested I have surgery sooner rather than later. Of course this meant none of my hands on work for 3 months plus a significantly painful rehab. I needed another option.
I decided to look for an alternative to surgery. I had some awareness of PRP therapy and as luck would have it knew a colleague who used it in his practice. After just 2 injections of platelets I have full range of motion and I am able to perform all of my usual work. I can do most of my play activities without pain or restrictions. (Still can’t do push-ups, if you call that play.)
Because of my own personal experience, I felt obligated to provide this cutting edge and extremely cost effective therapy to my patients who might benefit. Before you sign on to expensive surgery with long recovery times, let’s talk. I’d love to evaluate your situation, especially shoulder and knee pain or arthritis, to determine if this therapy would be appropriate for you. “
—Dr. Ed Childers