When the arthritic process becomes so advanced in your knee, shoulder, hip or spine that traditional arthritis treatments have stopped being effective, orthopedic specialists often mention surgery as the “only remaining solution.” But it is not. Before turning to such a definitive, non-reversible procedure, you can try a biologic approach that promotes cartilage regeneration to stop the progressive, ill effects of arthritis.
One of the alternative solutions that is attracting the attention of the medical community and media is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy. PRP has been delaying, helping to repair, or preserving arthritic joints in order to postpone or prevent the need for surgery. Basically, PRP activates your body’s own reparative mechanisms to heal itself.
How PRP Therapy Works
As I’ve explained in previous blogs, PRP is a relatively new procedure that relieves acute or chronic pain by triggering the natural healing potential of the body with platelets from your own blood. To review, blood is made up of red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Following any injury, platelets in our bodies are activated and release healing proteins called growth factors, which help to speed up wound and tissue healing. PRP is a very good source of these growth factors because PRP can be taken from your blood quickly, easily and safely.
The simple, one-hour, non-invasive PRP procedure is performed by an experienced pain management physician. After the area is anesthetized for comfort, a sample of your blood is drawn and spun down in a centrifuge machine to separate out and concentrate the platelets and growth factors for tissue healing. The PRP is then injected into the injured area.
As with many injections, you may feel increased initial pain, which usually subsides after a few days. Ideally, after several weeks, the discomfort associated with the arthritic joint improves. Because PRP uses your own blood to kick-start and accelerate the healing process, it is considered a very low-risk for allergic reaction or rejection.
My advice to anyone contemplating PRP treatment is to speak with your orthopedic surgeon or healthcare provider and then carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks. The risks and out-of-pocket expenses should not outweigh the benefits.
Although PRP is a relatively safe, it is important for our doctors to know about your past and current medical history (especially, records from your orthopedic surgeon), and which medicines you take to avoid complications and ensure the best possible results. The staff at NJ Pain Care Specialists is always available and happy to answer your questions and discuss your situation.
At the present time, PRP Treatments are not covered by medical insurance.